“Staircases Don’t Burn”
Schodów się nie pali, reportage, Znak 2006 (2nd ed.), 208 pages, ISBN 83-240-0629- X
Rights available: World
Nominations and Prizes:
Shortlist – Nike Literary Prize 2001
The debut of Wojciech Tochman, which was shortlisted for the Nike Literary Prize 2001. Eleven pieces about man who is lonely, adrift, different.
A piercing book. There are astounding secrets in these stories, which the author tries to reveal and which he describes with great talent. Wojciech Tochman is above all: sensitivity, unrest and passion. Superb writing.
Wojciech Tochman is one of the most sensitive reportage writers, but also one who is willing to explore the intimate, sometimes irrational areas of human experience. His collection of articles, Staircases Don’t Burn, once again demonstrates his talent for telling a story. This book was on the shortlist for Poland’s top literary award, the Nike, in 2001, and brings us the best features of Tochman’s writing: the very heart of existence, the irony of fate and the cruelty of destiny. Tochman takes a close look at the individuals,and reveals their secrets to the readers. As a result many of these stories seem wrapped in a strange aura, full of mysterious symbols, and so the reality of the reports becomes opaque and magical, with no logical explanation for the outcome of the events described. The pieces are precisely written and are always divided into clear sections, allowing Tochman to stay in control of the readers’ emotions. Suddenly shifting into a sensational or melodramatic tone, the narrative inspires questions about the power of his writing. The effect on the reader is emotional shock, proving that Tochman is one of those truly exceptional authors who have a spectacular way of blurring the borders between the written page and the flavour of real existence.