Odroczenie (Deferment) is a study in andropause marked with eroticism. This is the story of three mature men fascinated with sex – sex which acts as an antidote to the passage of time. One of the three heroes, apparently the protagonist, attempts to defer the hourglass. He is a teacher, bored and disillusioned with his marriage, his friends who understand nothing and with everyday life. His encounters with an underage prostitute develop into an ever more passionate romance. Their dates which are interlaced with sex in its vulgar form and a richness of feeling occupy Andrzej’s mind and attention more and more. The more he meets his femme fatale the greater number of demons arises: jealousy, obsession and the desire to possess. This story contains a perverse analysis of crisis in middle age. It contains something of the mystery of Nabokov’s Lolita and is reminiscent of Pygmalion. This is because Gosia is a young girl and a mature woman rolled into one and Andrzej wishes to create her from scratch. His fascination tears him away from his hitherto void but also fills his life with anguish. Andrzej’s vicissitudes are cleverly interwoven with the lives of the other heroes: Erectus who desperately tries to escape from death and Peplok, the uncouth simpleton. To a certain degree this novel may be read as an anthology with most of its chapters treated as separate stories.

Agnieszka Gibas 




Male menopause alias the sand in the hourglass


     This novel will shock every reader. Particularly Orthodox Catholics – providing they ever dare to touch the book… Years ago Navbokov’s Lolita shocked readers with its topic and subtlety … Now – it’s Zalewski’s prose… in its raw and ruthless street version. Odroczenie (Deferment) is a surprising tale of fatal infatuation, the demonic feelings of a middle-aged man towards a teenage girl with plenty of sex appeal, but not much money and education. This beautiful, vulgar and primitive Lolita-of-a-girl knocks over somebody’s hourglass. The sand stops dead… Something ends… and something starts… The Christian world of values goes underground. Or is crushed by the hourglass… Maybe it’s all about love, but undoubtedly forbidden love, improper, carrying the sentence of exile.  This prose – word after word, step by step – unveils (sic!) the truth beneath. The truth of the underworld. The world in which one stimulus so badly desired is the body of another person. Some simply don’t remember, some just don’t want to know, whilst others see it as paradise. This is why the book may be so appealing. Somebody could say that Nabokov hid the details. Well, Zalewski has uncovered them. And he has done so in an unpremeditated manner. And one more thing – Nabokov was subtle. Zalewski is brave. And he knows no limits to decency… that’s why people might not like the novel. It is here – much the same as in the Biblical Paradise – that by reaching out for the forbidden fruit the fall and defeat of man takes place. Freedom is a sham. It tethers the senses. It corners you.

Jolanta Szymska-Wiercioch

Cracow, 4 August 2007

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