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A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Brigid Pasulka

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A grand love story, a wonderfully warm-hearted debut, and a young woman and her country on the cusp of change.

Winner of the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction, A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True is a grand love story and a wonderfully warm-hearted debut about a young woman and her country on the cusp of change.

On the eve of World War II in a place called Half-Village, a man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. Using his 'golden hands' he decides to turn her family's modest hut into a beautiful home, and build his way into her heart.

But war arrives, cutting short their charming courtship and bringing with it terrible events.

Fifty years on, young Baba Yaga leaves her village to make a new life in Krakow. What she finds is not the city of her grandmother's tales but a place struggling in the aftermath of communism's fall, where opportunity seems reserved for the lucky few. Then tragedy strikes and the past reaches out an unexpected hand to her.

What Louis de Berni res did for Kefalonia, Brigid Pasulka does for Poland, weaving together the two strands of her story with a deftly magical touch into a witty, wise and heartbreaking love story that will enchant you to the very end.

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Praise for A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True

  • Pasulka creates a world that's magical despite the absence of magical happenings, and where Poland's history is bound up in one family's story . . .[A] delightful debut. - Publisher's Weekly starred review

  • 'Pasulka's book has a gripping story...history is not dead - it is just fascinating to see it at work in the present'. - The Times

  • There are human tragedies at both ends of the novel's timescale and Pasulka is strong on the way historical events blight human lives. But there are also tales of love and loss that are purely personal and Pasulka's theme that the human connections are ultimately all that matter is both moving and convincingly told. -

  • With a touch of Marina Lewycka and a dash of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, this is storytelling that gets under your skin and forces you to press copies into your best friends' hands. - Elle

  • The relationship between Pigeon and the stuff of great romantic epics. And this debut novel is also full of humor...thanks to Brigid Pasulka's unforgettable writing that easily takes the reader from past to present, tragedy to hopefulness. It really feels like a true-life fairy tale. -

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Brigid Pasulka

Brigid Pasulka, the descendant of Polish emigrants, first arrived in Krakow in the early 1990s and stayed for a year. It was the first of many visits which would allow her to learn Polish, make lifelong friends and fall in love with the land of her great grandparents. She wrote part of her novel, A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True in a cafe called Pigeon 3. Brigid lives in Chicago where she teaches English, but returns to Poland often.

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