Monday, 3 March 2008
Stefan Grabinski: the Polish Poe
Discovering a new writer is always a thrill: you are suddenly acquainted with someone you didn't realise you had wanted to know. CB Editions have just issued a selection of the strange supernatural stories of the Polish writer Stefan Grabinski (1887-1936) translated by Wiesiek Powaga. Critics have labelled him "the Polish Poe" for obvious reasons but, hard as it is to judge the quality of prose translated from another language, I wonder if there isn't a touch of Oscar Wilde in his sensual language. These stories, all with a bizarre twist, are beautifully realised and attentive to detail and I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Grabinski (sorry I can't do the accent on the 'n' here) was born in the eastern provinces of Poland which are now the Ukraine and moved to Lvov where he became a teacher and seems to have spent a lot of his life in relative obscurity. Other works have been translated and there's a website dedicated to him.