The inventive and extraordinary work of Poland’s leading playwright is amply represented in this landmark new edition. Slawomir Mrozek has reigned as the preeminent playwright and satirist of Eastern Europe for the past half century. A sharp critic of all oppressive systems during the Cold War, he began his career as a young enthusiast for the new Communist regime in the early 1950s. It didn’t take long, however, for him to be deemed such a threat that his work was banned not only in his native Poland, but also in all Eastern bloc countries. After the fall of Communism, he returned home from self-imposed exile in the West and was recognized as a major literary figure. This reissue of fourteen plays and ten short stories, along with a sampling of his capricious cartoons, affirms Mrozek’s mastery of a wide spectrum of styles, and illustrates the development of his talent over the decades. From the vantage point of the twenty-first century, Mrozek’s questioning of authority, his razor-sharp sense of the comic, and his spirit of contradiction seem as fresh, and as relevant, as ever.
“Mrozek is a masterly storyteller and a sharpshooter with a harpoon.” - Chicago Tribune
“Mrozek’s brief fables are something like Kafka’s stories, but they’re funnier.” - The Spectator
“Every culture needs to think about language and power. [Mrozek’s] plays have a lot to teach us.” - Margo Jefferson, The New York Times