Hodgkinson's Tale Tells of Loss and Recovery
When Janusz Nowak boards the train to help Poland’s cause during World War II, he leaves behind his young wife, Silvana, and their infant son, Aurek. Soon after, the Germans invade Warsaw and Silvana is forced to flee with her child and find refuge in the woods.
Skip ahead a few years. The war is over, but its scars remain. Janusz has relocated to England with every intention of becoming a proper Englishman. Word of his wife’s and son’s survival compels him to send for them in the hopes they can all begin again as a happy family, far removed from Poland’s painful memories.
Janusz realizes that starting over isn’t as easy as he imagined when he’s confronted by the war’s changes on his wife and the fact his son is a wild and fearful creature he hardly recognizes.
The premise was intriguing enough to entice me to pick this one up, but Amanda Hodgkinson offers so much more as life-altering secrets held by both Janusz and Silvana are revealed and new complications arise. The narrative is spare and beautiful, and the story, utterly captivating. Alternating between past and present in the voices of Janusz, Silvana and their fascinating son, Aurek, Hodgkinson has written a complex tale of loss and recovery, love and redemption.
Katrina Denza’s stories can be found in several literary journals and forthcoming from Gargoyle No. 57. She volunteers as a mentor for Dzanc’s Creative Writing Sessions and keeps a literary blog, www.katdenza.blogspot.com.
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