Brigid Pasulka reads from her new novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True | Bleader

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brigid Pasulka reads from her new novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Posted By on 12.01.09 at 11:41 AM

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Brigid Pasulka
  • Brigid Pasulka
Whitney Young High School English teacher Brigid Pasulka reads from her debut novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), on Tuesday, December 1, at Barbara's Bookstore.

The book interweaves two tales, both set in Poland—in one, set in the 1930s, a young couple's life is disrupted by war; in the other their granddaughter seeks a new life 50 years later in Krakow, the "fairy-tale city" of her grandmother's stories.

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but what I have read is completely charming. Here's an excerpt from the earlier story, in which a young man, enraptured by a beautiful girl he's recently seen, offers to work for free for her father:

"Excuse me for bothering you so early in the morning, Pan, but I was wondering if Pan wouldn't mind if I made some improvements to Pan's house. For free, of course."

"You want to make improvements to my house?"

"For free."

"And what did you say your name was?"

"Everyone calls me the Pigeon."

Pan Hetmanski stood in his substantial nightshirt and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "And exactly what improvements did you have in mind."

"Well, take this path for one, it could be paved . . . and there could be a garden wall to keep out the Gypsies . . . and glass could be put in these windows . . . and a new tin roof, perhaps."

Pan Hetmanski suppressed a smirk. "For free, you say." Another man might have been offended rather than amused, but Pan Hetmanski was a highlander and not a farmer, and thus more concerned with enjoying his plot of land than with working it. Besides, there had been enough young men lurking around lately to make him aware of what the Pigeon was up to, that the request was not to work on the hut, but to work somewhere in the vicinity of his fifteen-year-old daughter, Anielica. At least this one had the decency to come to the door and offer something useful.

"And how do I know you will not make rubble of my house?"

"If you would like to see my work, I can take you to my parents' house. I did a complete remont last summer."

"And you will work for free?"

"Yes, Pan."

"And would this have anything to do with my daughter?"

"I will leave that up to Pan. In time, of course."

"I'm not going to help you with any of the work."

"Of course not, Pan."

"And if you touch her I will throw you off the mountain and let the wild boars gnaw your bones."

"Of course, Pan."

"And if you make up stories about touching her, I will cut out your tongue and my wife will use it as a pincushion for her embroidery needles."

"That won't be necessary, Pan."

The others had been easily scared away by such talk, and as Pan Hetmanski stood in the doorway scowling at the Pigeon, he regretted that he had not answered the door with a knife or an awl in his hand to appear more threatening.

"And when will you begin?"

"Now if you like. I brought a change of clothes."

"Now? Good God, you are an eager one. Why don't you preserve your enthusiasm until the weekend?" He smiled. "And whatever else might be propelling you."

"Friday evening then?"

"Saturday morning," Pan Hetmanski countered, surpressing another smirk.

"We'll see if she shows up, the young buck," he mumbled to his wife after he had shut the door.

"I hope so. I do need a new pincushion."

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jerome Ludwig

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories