Fiction Book Review: Wioletta Greg's Accommodations -PW.com
Accommodations translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
This slim, offbeat volume from Greg (Swallowing Mercury) is a coming-of-age story of dichotomies: city and country, Russia and Poland, and the spiritual and the corporeal. Narrator Wiola has just arrived in the Polish city of Czestochowa for her first year of college in September 1994. She’s determined to leave her rural upbringing behind, and when she doesn’t qualify for university housing, she checks into a hostel, where she is drawn into the lives of other boarders. When university fails to engage her, her living quarters become the locus of her experience and sexual awakening: a knife-throwing lesson from one of her housemates turns steamy, where before she knew sex as “a bit of theory.” After a dreamy interlude of wandering the city, which is decorated by memories of life in the country, she is taken in by nuns and given rooms in a convent. By entering the world of religious life, she is able to find the stability that had been missing from her life in the hostel. Though the narrative perhaps moves a bit too quickly for readers wanting to savor the story, the prose hums with bright, sensual language. Couched in melodious, resonant writing, this fanciful meditation on individual maturation and spirituality will satisfy and stimulate readers. (July)