Chilly and lonely, the Baltic shores that inspire the Gdansk-born writer Pawel Huelle may feel far from the centre of things. In all his work, however, history rudely intrudes on isolation as the mainstream floods the margins – often tragically, sometimes hopefully (as in the Solidarity movement, for which Huelle worked). The Dutch Mennonite sect in ‘Mimesis’ have found a Polish refuge from persecution. Then both Nazi and Communist takeovers smash their peace and wreck their village idyll. What remains, as often with Huelle, are ruins, fragments, memories: history as a parade of ghosts and dreams.
First published 2008; collected in Cold Sea Stories, Comma Press, 2012