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Asche und Diamant
Jerzy Andrzejewski
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Asche und Diamant

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  420 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Ashes and Diamonds takes us to a provincial town in the spring of 1945. The nation is in the throes of transformation to People's Poland. Communists, socialists, and nationalists; thieves and black marketeers; servants and fading aristocrats; veteran terrorists and bands of murderous children bewitched by the lure of crime and adventure--all these converge on the town's ch ...more
Published 1975 by Verlag Volk und Welt Berlin (first published 1948)
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[2016 Addendum: Film buffs may know of the great movie adaptation of this novel; but this novel is in its own class. It's a phenomenal and sweeping story; also one of the most under-read and underrated novels of all time, in my opinion. I'm re-posting my very detailed review in hopes of generating some more interest in it. -e/kr]

The great set piece that spans two sprawling masterly chapters of Jerzy Andrzejewski's 1948 novel Ashes and Diamonds is an all-night party at the Hotel Monopole in the P
John Gaynard
Jerzy Andrzejewski is one of the four writers featured by Czesław Miłosz in his 1953 book The Captive Mind. Miłosz describes Andrzejewki's writing before WWII, describes his experiences during the war, and gives a blow by blow account of the 1948 novels Ashes and Diamonds, which was an apology for the Soviet takeover of Poland.

In the novel, the communists who are taking over Poland, through what they hope will be only indirect Soviet intervention, with the collaboration of the "new" Polish Army
Sad little story of those trying to reestablish everyday life in Poland after the war and those who can't adjust and are trying to continue fighting.

In the way that these things go a good chunk of my memory of this book consists in fact of a memory of the long scene of the new years's celebration from a film version.
Jun 27, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had to have a classmate from Polish ship this to me during his Euro-travels this summer. I'm not sure why this book, in Polish, has been so hard for me to acquire.

The film adaption by Andrzej Wajda I highly recommend. One of my favorites.

Took me long enough, but I finally finished my first book in Polish!!!
Jun 25, 2012 Natalia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dlaczego nie 5 gwiazdek? Bo wiele wątków książki na finiszu nie zostało wyjaśnionych. Dlaczego 4 gwiazdki? Bo wciągnęła mnie od pierwszych stron. Mimo notki na pierwszej stronie wspomniającej, że "Popiół i diament" jest lekturą szkolną czwartej klasy liceum ogólnokształcącego, starałam się nie podejść do niej sceptycznie na samym początku. Aby sprawić by ludzie znienawidzili książkę, wystarczy że zrobimy ją lekturą. No cóż... tutaj akurat ta reguła się nie sprawdza. Wartka akcja, trochę psycholo ...more
Obraz Polski powojennej. Niemcy podpisują akt kapitulacji, co przynosi Polakom szansę na odbudowę zniszczonego kraju. Czy koniec II wojny światowej faktycznie niesie ze sobą koniec cierpienia? Czy da się wyrzucić z pamięci tragiczną rzeczywistość obozową? I wreszcie – czy jest gdzie i do kogo wracać?

„Popiół i diament” przeczytałam z własnej woli. Mogę powiedzieć tylko jedno – dobrze, że książka wyleciała z kanonu lektur. Nie zrozumcie mnie źle. W żadnym wypadku nie można stwierdzić, że powieść
If this book endures today, it is because it speaks to how society is fractionalized along lines of age, politics, and class. It also speaks to how fractionalization becomes violent and motivated by foggy ideologies when society has lost its foundation of values and institutions -- as here in the traumatized, post-war Poland. I see it in the USA these sad days.

I think this is a highly intellectual book. There is romance and irony and "story", but the characters are emblems. Each has a thought-ou
David Rickards
Feb 28, 2016 David Rickards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd glad I read this book! Andrzejewski's description of life in Poland during the last few days of WWII was a rare treat. The Russians are already in control, the resistance is building (JA uses the word "solidarity" a few times), and people are trying to come to terms with their new life. The translation was a bit clunky at times ... there are passages that could have been more polished ... but overall, it's a good read. Four out of five stars. Here's a nice passage in which a man struggles to ...more
Bob Wake
Jan 29, 2015 Bob Wake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 1948 Polish novel Ashes and Diamonds by Jerzy Andrzejewski (1909-1983) is probably less appreciated today as a literary work in its own right than as the basis for Andrzej Wajda’s 1958 film adaptation. The wildly entertaining movie, designated an “Essential Art House” choice in Criterion’s DVD catalog, owes more to Orson Welles’s baroque cinematic influence than Andrzejewski’s blend of socialist realism and tragic irony. Both novel and film are compact (239 pgs./103 mins.), while at the same ...more
My review

From you, as burning chips of resin,

Fiery fragments circle far and near:

Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,

Or if all is yours will disappear.

Will only ashes and confusion remain,

Leading into the abyss?—or will there be

In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,

The dawning of eternal victory!

—Epigraph to Ashes and Diamonds, from Cyprian Norwid, “Prolog,” Tragedia fantastyczna

Reading Ashes and Diamonds and The Faithful River at the same time proved to be quite a coinci

Víctor Sampayo
Apr 12, 2015 Víctor Sampayo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Al finalizar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la gente de un pueblo polaco busca regresar a una normalidad de la que apenas se acuerda. Sin embargo, el mapa político ha cambiado: el ascenso del comunismo divide a la sociedad en dos bandos igualmente idealistas, los cuales se enfrentan en una guerra sin cuartel. Sin embargo, no sólo en lo colectivo se verán las consecuencias de la guerra, también en lo individual se comprobará cómo las circunstancias límite de un campo de concentración llevarán a cualq ...more
Hannah Gibbons
I am 'oohing' and 'aahing' about my feelings to this book, some parts had so much potential to turn into something interesting and exciting, but often it petered out into nothing. Considering the expansive list of characters and the third-person narrative, it was very easy to identify with characters and really picture them in your mind's eye, which I found quite surprising for such a little book. My favourite story in the plot was definitely the budding romance between Michael and Christina, as ...more
Philip Lane
Nov 13, 2013 Philip Lane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great short novel about people's behaviour in times of duress. The story covers a few days at the very end of WWII in
Poland. The characters are all trying to adjust to the new conditions, recovering and regrouping. I loved the dialogues which were very naturalistic and the complex set of feelings that the protagonists are having to deal with. Some look back with shame, sadness or relief, whilst others look forward with excitement or apprehension. It contains action as old scores are settled but
Jun 05, 2013 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I gave up on this because I felt my time would be better spent watching the great film again. As I recall this edition (North West University Press) had errata and notes explaing the errata. Maybe in a new edition newly translated I would read this.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Jan 23, 2011 Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polish, fiction
I read this book as a youth in the 60s. I remember I enjoyed it but unfortunately it's become entangled with the film by Andrzej Wajda and the two will ever be so. Perhaps I need to read it again someday.
Jun 03, 2010 Ivy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
read this in my eastern european lit class my first year of college. i remember i liked it, but can't remember how much.
Nov 08, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polish
I have a feeling I've just finished a book that will be a favorite for a very long time to come.
Jul 13, 2009 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
hmmm. Some of it has dated badly. Still worth reading.
Popiol i diament by Jerzy Andrzejewski (1974)
Dec 02, 2009 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slv17 rated it it was amazing
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“I've seen men who thought they were brave turn out to be shameful cowards. Other people, who thought they were capable of the utmost self-sacrifice, proved to be hardened egotists. And the opposite, too - cowards doing things which needed toughness and unusual courage..... What does it all boil down to in the end? One must judge a man by what he does, and not by what he thinks he would do. Until a man faces the test, he can deceive himself endlessly.” 2 likes
“Para vivir hay que aprender a mirar la muerte con cierta indiferencia. No hay que dedicar a los muertos demasiados sentimientos ni pensar en ellos en exceso. No lo necesitan. No necesitan nada. No existen. Sólo los vivos existen.” 0 likes
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