Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg

Staff Pick

Can a novel that takes place during the final decades of Communist rule in Poland, with its political repression, blackouts, and shortages, be called enchanting? Yes. In twenty-three beautifully crafted short chapters that could double as stand-alone stories, Greg, also a poet, follows Wiolka from roughly age four to adolescence. Her daily life is shot through with flashes of the uncanny, from a cat that teaches her “a different kind of geometry of the world” to her mother’s belief that killing spiders brings thunderstorms to a child sleepwalking because “someone had to finish the abruptly interrupted dreams” of Nazi victims decades before. But with every summer morning that “smelled of watermelon pulp,” come instances of bullying or men with strange, unwanted attentions that Wiolka doesn’t understand. Her father disappears three times—coming back from detention and from the hospital “unrecognizable,” but not coming back at all from the fatal heart attack. Greg observes every detail with a precision that’s as lyrical as it is exacting.

Swallowing Mercury Cover Image
By Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak (Translator)
ISBN: 9781945492044
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Transit Books - September 12th, 2017

Share this

Membership Benefits


 Gift cards can be used online or in-store.

Gift Card