The Issa Valley
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The Issa Valley

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  286 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Thomas, the child-protagonist of The Issa Valley, is subject to both the contradictions of nature in this severe northern setting and sometimes enchanting, sometimes brutal timbre of village life. There are the deep pine and spruce forests, the grouse and the deer, and the hunter's gun. There is Magdalena, the beautiful mistress of the village priest, whose suicide unleash...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 22nd 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1955)
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Mariel
Aug 21, 2013 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you raise your whip
Recommended to Mariel by: the rest does not belong to them
What else was there to say? He had been born, he would die, and he would have to bear his burden. Priest or rabbi- it was the same old rigmarole, never getting to the heart of it... Now, if a giant head were to peer out from behind the horizon and huff and puff and suck up everything in one furious rush of air... But nothing doing. So why should he be sore at the Jew? He was just a man, no better and no worse... But show me the man who could do something. A man could have his guts torn apart, c
...more
Steve
Although I have made no systematic study of the matter, I must ask myself once again why it is that poetry written by novelists invariably triggers my gag reflex, whereas novels written by poets are well worth reading? With no particular effort the names Dickey, Kinnell, Carlos Williams, Cummings, Bobrowski, Rilke, Daumal, Soupault and now Miłosz come to mind - poets who have written novels that were at least enjoyable and, in some cases, much more than that. I don't know (though I has me suspic...more
Kalliope
Read this years ago, soon after Milosz was given the Nobel. I remember walking along the corridor at University and passing by the door of his office at the Faculty.
Cara
Surprisingly engrossing, but in the end, too much talk about hunting.
Michael Steger
Beauty punctuated with sinister moments... A novel/memoir about a vanished world, written by a noble, vanished mind, in a deep, poetic, even wasteful prose style that itself has been chased from our own shallow, practical, efficient approach to the world. A novel about a remote corner of Europe, before the Waste Land set in. For we who live in the Waste Land, this sort of vision may seem almost embarrassingly nostalgic and foreign. But Milosz's vision is strikingly anti-sentimental; a profound r...more
Sári
Gyönyörű könyv, nagy küzdelem.

Majdnem olyan nehezen haladtam vele, mint annak idején a Kalevalával. És szerintem van köztük hasonlóság. Hideg táj, vidéken, táj, táj, táj, és emberek mint a táj szerves része. Erdő, széna, fa, mókus, halál, születés, küzdés, öröm, vízpart és fekete kenyér. Egy gyerekkor, egy világ összegzése, teljes egész. Fekete István Csend című könyve jutott az eszembe, meg mintha Fekete István úgy általában is, csak eddig tőle még túl keveset olvastam, hogy ezt bátran mondjam....more
Steven Wall
I have probably read some six thousand books in my life -- I can still relate this incredible novel almost page by page.
Jenny
Milosz's writing is beautifully elegant and poetic. There are passages that enthralled me and held my interest because of the language that Milosz uses to convey the enchanting landscape and the sensations that the land and the people bring to the protagonist, Thomas (my favorite one is the last one, covering the last 2 or 3 pages of the novel). I enjoyed learning about an area of the world of which I knew little before reading this book. I like that Milosz weaves stories of Polish and Lithuania...more
RJ
Dec 23, 2007 RJ rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tired writers. and wide-awake ones, too
The Issa Valley is a tense place, but most of this tension boils about a mile below its surface, where devils dressed like Immanuel Kant reside. Occasional silliness excluded, the goings are really slow here.

Yet Czeslaw Milosz's prose is pristine, subtle, gorgeous -- serene, as somebody says on the back cover. And it is serene, so much so that it might rock you to sleep. But with a writer as talented as Milosz rocking the cradle, is this such a bad thing? Certainly not, so long as you wouldn't...more
Alba
Xenial.Acompaña o crecemento dun neno, explicando con detalle a vida do val. Introdúcese no retrato das persoas, dos costumes, da relixión, dos acontecementos. É tamén un retrato de familia.
Están tamén a loucura e os demos, as serpes de auga, a dúbida xuvenil sobre a fe, os conflitos identitarios (sentírense polacos e afirmáreno, no contexto do recoñecemento lituano).
Volverei.
Jonas Brazys
Kai skaitai knygą, tiesiog atsiranda tokių akimirkų kai privalai sustoti ir skirti laiko pamąstymui, žvelgiant pro langą, o tada tiesiog supranti, kad knyga kurią skaitai yra tiesiog nuostabi. Ypač rekomenduoju žmonėms kurie vaikystėje susidūrė su gamta, kurie prisimena vaikiškas tiesas, nekaltumą ir tyrumą. Tiems, kurie dar galvoja, jog nėra sugadinti pasaulio...
Maryte
Pulitzer-prize winner, Czeslow Milosz writes lyrical prose about his coming-of-age experiences in the beauty of the natural setting of his home town in Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century. Interspersed by mythological and philosophical musings, this book will uplift your spirit and satify your sensibilities..I loved it.
Fanny
I read this book long time ago and I remember just a few things about it. What I do remember is that it was a great book.
Owen Curtsinger
Slow and subtle prose, beautifully written at times but lacking in an overarching plot. Still a joy to read.
Jake Puinno
Book was hard to follow and the author was all over the place.
the Skrauss
His meditative writing reminds me of John Berger.
Bonnie Jeanne
Jan 25, 2009 Bonnie Jeanne marked it as to-read
The Issa Valley: A Novel by Czeslaw Milosz (2000)
Manuel Sánchez
I read this in 2011/ 100-100
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Czesław Miłosz memorialised his Lithuanian childhood in a 1955 novel, The Issa Valley , and in the 1959 memoir Native Realm . After graduating from Sigismund Augustus Gymnasium in Vilnius, he studied law at Stefan Batory University and in 1931 he travelled to Paris, where he was influenced by his distant cousin Oscar Milosz, a French poet of Lithuanian descent and a Swedenborgian. His first volume...more
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“The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.” 46 likes
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