Madame tells the story of a self-absorbed Polish teenager as he pursues intellectual maturity, and the woman of his dreams, his French teacher 'Madame', in the communist-dominated Warsaw of the early 1970s. Libera paces his exuberant young hero's fulminations, fantasies and discoveries beautifully, building a remarkably subtle characterisation of a free mind in a repressive culture.
This is one of those rare novels which reminds us why we love books.
A consummate literary entertainment.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 24/05/2004
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781841955209
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by beata
The best book I ever read, I own it in Polish, recommend it in English to all my friends who want to learn more about me and my world.
Review by Niecierpek
A growing up novel of an 18-year-old young intellectual in Poland in the late 60s, I couldn’t put down. Or, to be accurate, I put it down only to read Victory by Conrad, to which the book referred so much that I had to read it before I went on. I most heartily recommend it. It is a fast, intelligent and witty story of a boy who falls in love with his beautiful and secretive French professor, and doesn’t hesitate to explore all the venues to get closer to her. The story is a pretext to explore the life in communist Poland of those times with all its quirks and Soviet bloc idiosyncrasies.
Review by Miro
In this exceptionally good novel Libera uses the infatuation of a precocious schoolboy with his French teacher to contrast the drab and corrupt culture of postwar Poland with the sparkle of French literary and artistic society."Madame's" background intertwines with different aspects of wartime and postwar Polish experience producing a remarkable account that is mostly unknown to Western readers (but could explain a lot of present day Poland), and as a bonus, and perhaps on a more superficial level, the story is an emotional roller coaster of a game with a great dénouement.
Review by mthelibrarian
A Polish "The Graduate," this story takes place in the time of Communist Poland. The narrator is a precocious student, well-versed in French and literature, and the tale of his relationship with his French teacher and headmistress of the high school he attends. I found it fascinating and have already put it on my "re-read sometime" bucket list. The author has translated Samuel Beckett's works into Polish. The quibble with the book might be that the narrator's brilliance is not believable. I might agree, but was willing to make that leap of faith much like one must be willing to do in reading a thriller. It's my Polish friend (she is a former literature teacher in Poland) favorite book, and I can understand why.