Rejwach (English title: I'd like to say sorry, but there's no one to say sorry to)
Shortlisted for the Nike Prize
“These small, searing prose pieces are moving and unsettling at the same time. If the diagnosis they present is right, then we have a great problem in Poland.”
– Olga Tokarczuk, author of Flights
An exquisitely original collection of darkly funny stories that explore the panorama of Jewish experience in contemporary Poland, from a world-class contemporary writer.
Both biting and knowing, I’d Like to Say Sorry, but There’s No One to Say Sorry To takes the form of first-person vignettes, through which Grynberg explores the daily lives and tensions within Poland between Jews and gentiles haunted by the Holocaust and its continuing presence.
In “Unnecessary Trouble,” a grandmother discloses on her deathbed that she is Jewish; she does not want to die without her family knowing. What is passed on to the family is fear and the struggle of what to do with this information. In “Cacophony,” Jewish identity is explored through names, as Miron and his son Jurek demonstrate how heritage is both accepted and denied. In “My Five Jews,” a non-Jewish narrator remembers five interactions with her Jewish countrymen, and her own anti-Semitism, ruefully noting that perhaps she was wrong and should apologize, but no one is left to say I’m sorry to.
Each of the thirty-one stories is a dazzling and haunting mini-monologue that highlights a different facet of modern Poland’s complex and difficult relationship with its Jewish past.