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Verso, April 2013

by Artur Domoslawski

Domoslawski has written a book which is three sorts of cautionary tale: about journalism engaged or disengaged, about the political maze through which intelligent Poles made their way in the later 20th century, about the endless capacity of human beings to believe their own fictions and keep secrets from themselves. He ends up still confident about Kapuscinski’s stature as a writer, still attracted to the memory of him as a friend, but amazed at what he has found out. As one of Kapuscinski’s former lovers said, ‘he was a complex man living in tangled times, in several eras, in various worlds.’Neal Acherson, London Review of Books

This book caused a furore when published in Poland two years ago; Kapuscinski's wife tried to stop release because of revelations of extramarital affairs, while the rest of the country was gripped by confirmation of collusion with the communist authorities. But what makes it so interesting is that the author does not shred Kapuscinki's reputation, not does he ignore the mounds of uncomfortable evidence. Instead, he peels away and probes with understanding, producing not just a fascinating biography of an important writer but also a subtle study of life under authoritarianism, with all the compromises and complexities that entails.— Ian Birell, The Guardian

This controversial biography opens up the secrets and contradictions of this globally renowned Polish journalist and writer. Artur Domoslawski travels the globe, following in Kapuscinski’s footsteps, delving into his private conflicts and anxieties and discovering the relationships that were the catalyst for his unique style of “literary reportage.” The result is a compelling and uncompromising portrait of a conflicted and brilliant individual.

Trans.  Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Verso Books, 2013. ISBN 9781781680810