Monday, March 16, 2009

Critic at large...

From: Gary G
Subject: Your book
Date: Friday, March 13, 2009, 8:04 AM

Franz Kafka
Hi Adam: I have finished reading your book. I believe you display considerable talent for describing people, their personalities, emotions and situations. Moreover, you accomplish it all with sardonic humor and delicious irony. Your depiction of the Kakfian universe you had entered and the paranoia that ensued is very effective and grabs the reader's attention. With all due respect, however, there are two points that don´t seem to add-up. Irrespective of the vagaries and inadequacies of the Polish judicial system, I asked myself what would have transpired if the exact same incident had occurred in Paris or Madrid. In my opinion, it is highly probable that you would have been arrested for assault and battery, prosecuted and convicted. I appreciate the fact that the accident could have left you maimed or dead . Your outrage at the time is understandable. Claiming self-defense, however, would not have gotten you off the hook. Striking someone who happened to be an off-duty cop? Is one to believe the French system of justice, for example, would have been more sympathetic towards you? Secondly, in my experience embassy staff of most nations provide pretty basic assistance to their fellow citizens overseas. I remain unconvinced that what you witnessed was substandard help. I am interested in learning about the new book you are writing on life in your adopted country. Wish I had some talent for creative writing. I, unfortunately, tend to come across like a bureaucrat. I trust you do not not find my critique excessively pungent. Let me know what you think of my comments.

Take care.

Thanks for the comment Gary and I am glad that you liked the book in general. As far as how this experience might have balanced out against other countries, I don't know the answer. All I know is what happened and how it went about and how rather totally integrated the Polish system was at that time in terms of being corrupt and obtuse. It is more than likely though that during the time when this happened and even when I wrote the book that I misunderstood how common this sort of systemic abuse was. You only get to look back from a distance and as of the moment, and this is with about 900 entries in the Polish Police and Administrative Corruption page, of course it is easy to say that this is simply who this country is. But during that time, I was in perpetual shock as to how little rights I had. And this also includes the US embassy people.

Now, it is also easy to say that there were secret prisons in Poland during this time and that US Belarus relations were and are such that someone like me who had a desire to hang out in Belarus for a while might send up flags. But the real point is not to say that we are enlightened because we understand such things, but more, should we agree that we wish to have such possibilities as a part of the fabric of our lives? I hope you can understand my point: It is not the passive understanding that there is corruption; it is the active decision not to support its existence.

So in the end this is what I tried to do in this book. As for style, I suppose I just tried to show the pictures as best as I could. As for wryness, well, I guess that was also a given all things considered. I mean, how would you feel? And I guess this is also what the final cut of the new book is going to look like. You get a tapestry of events and interactions, moments and emotions. You spend seven years doing something desperate and I guess you don't need to push things so hard to get some drama. I am a much different person though than I was. I am harder and much, much more direct. I still don't give in when it comes to political pressure or paying blackmailers, something this country is also very, very good at, but I don't really feel the idealism so much any more and am much more focused on trying to make something so that my daughter can have more and better chances than I did.

Anyway though, thanks for writing. I do appreciate your taking the time to check the book out and I hope that the reading was time at least interestingly spent for you.

Cheers from Belarus,


Blogger Chilly S said...

some of the best blogging i've seen in years. keep the faith. bless.

Thursday, March 19, 2009  
Blogger bathmate said...

Thank you for posting.
it is really helpful to all.
such a nice topics.


Sunday, December 20, 2009  

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