Posted 20 hours ago

A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

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His book is partly about Poland, partly about feeling disconnected from others and partly about Ben. So how should he expect us to take his opinion seriously when he does not even take it seriously enough himself?

I also admire that the author is so comfortable going up to people and just asking them questions, which is something I would certainly struggle with. One would have expected the former to highlight how Poland differs from England, but, in fact, they are disappointingly deficient in that respect. Out of the entire book I found perhaps 30-45 minutes of it interesting, mostly centered on his showing up unannounced to have a Christmas Eve dinner with a family. By the year's end he had a better sense of what the Poles had turned their backs on – southern mountains, northern beaches, dumplings! I was disappointed that the book ended with barely any resolution and the quote of another author/poet in place of the author's own words.

This made it quite unmotivating to read as I wasn't particularly interested in the author's attempts to hike up a mountain in the dark Polish winter or failed romantic endeavours but more so the political and cultural environment. A sincere, mischievious and hilariously funny journal of strange and absolutely normal encounters that made me wish to visit Poland, even though I'm Polish. The writing style was very often too much of an attempt to be funny, so that the desired light touch became a bit strained. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. However, the politics in this book are lazy and uninspired; they are exactly the same opinions that millions of others repeat without thinking.

I came to the author from his previous travel book: Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island, which I believe should be read before this one, if possible, as an introduction. I've lived in Poland for the last twelve years, and so having a chance to compare my own experiences to those enjoyed by Ben Aitken meant that this was a diverting, enjoyable read.I liked the chapters in Krakow and Konin; and reading about Hubert's farm, Jerzy on the mountain, and Christmas with the Polish family was all very enjoyable. It showed me Poland from a completely different angle, one which I hope to experience for myself one day. It's a great pleasure seeing your own country through the beady-eyes of an author who decided to leave a' comfort zone' to gain a true life experience.

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