My First Suicide
Open Letter Books
Jerzy Pilch
“My First Suicide”
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“My First Suicide” is from Jerzy Pilch’s story collection by the same title (Open Letter Books).  Pilch is one of Poland’s most important contemporary writers and journalists. In addition to his long-running satirical newspaper column, Pilch has published several novels, including The Mighty Angel.  He has been nominated for Poland’s prestigious NIKE Literary Award four times; he finally won the Award in 2001 for The Mighty Angel.

 

The ten stories that comprise My First Suicide straddle the line between intimate revelation and drunken confession. These stories reveal a nostalgic and poetic Pilch, one who can pen a character’s lyrical ode to the fate of his father’s perfect chess table in one story, examine a teacher’s desperate and dangerous infatuation with a student in the next, and then, always true to his obsessions, tell a remarkably touching story that begins by describing his narrator’s excitement at the possibility of a three-way with the seductive soccer-fan.

 

The stories of My First Suicide combine irony and humor, anecdote and gossip, love and desire with an irresistibly readable style that is vintage Pilch.  Critics have compared Pilch’s style to Witold Gombrowicz, Milan Kundera, and Bohumil Hrabal.  The collection was translated by David Frick.

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