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In Red

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  23 reviews
By the Ko?cielski Prize-winning author of Dream and Stones, In Red is the gripping cautionary tale in which real and unreal combine explosively, making us question the nature of the work itself. Set in an imaginary fourth partition of Poland, In Red retraces the turbulent history of the twentieth century in a labyrinth of greed, inheritance, and entropy, enacting—word by t ...more
ebook, 200 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Archipelago (first published 1998)
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Nate D
Spotted entirely via the lovely Archipelago book design (and the vitriolic strength of Tranquility) and grabbed on impulse, this is the condensed history of Europe told in a notional arctic reach of Poland over the first half of the 20th century, reading with a deft fairy-tale lightness that smooths the bitter realities grinning blackly behind its surrealized story-surfaces. Tulli's narrative attempts to cover an incredible amount into 150 pages, leaving most of the characters stuck via plot mec ...more
Jeff Bursey
This polish novella from 1998 has now been put into a translation that contains morbid humour, improbable events that suit the environment, and colourful imagery and prose. I don't know how Tulli reads in her original language, but the translator has given us a swift moving book that is easy to read, and fascinating in its broad and fine details, of a mythical town just before the First World War and leading to the Second. Well worth purchasing, for yourself, or if you want to give someone a boo ...more
"Stories are not subject to anyones will,for they have their own;it is unbreakable,like a steel spring concealed in the depths of mechanical instrument...." asserts MT on p158.Not a perfect analogy,for the steel spring requires setting subject to the limits imposed on it by its makers will,and it will sooner or later"play its melody to the end."

Thirty pages earlier she had presented her conclusion"The truth is a fraud",and I can only understand this to refer to the dizzying rate of change her
Jim Elkins
The book is full of beautiful images, and Merwin is right that it has echoes of Michaux, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramango.

But the images just keep coming, as if magic needs to be renewed a half-dozen times on each page, as if each magic thing mustn't be allowed to linger more than a line or two. I can't quite understand why that should be: why can't Tulli imagine something magical and wonderful, and keep the image going for a page or a chapter? And why does she think magical things need to be so fr
Monica Carter
Anyone who makes it to Stitchings appreciates its promising misty grayness and the moist warm breeze in which desires flourish so handsomely. A wide choice of furnished rooms with all the modern conveniences, and homemade meals available just around the corner, cheap and filling. Daybreaks and sunsets at fixed times. A moderate climate, flowers throughout the year. It's well worth making the long steamboat journey, putting up with seasickness, till the port of Stitchings comes into view crowde
At the risk of being thrown out as a judge on Project Runway, I think the emperor is not wearing any clothes here. I didn't understand what was going on, and I pretty sure that nobody else who read the book understood what was going on either, but just didn't want to let on. In particular, on second reading of the review in the New Yorker that initially intrigued me enough to read it, I think the author of the review had no idea what was going on but didn't want to admit it. The review in the Ne ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Tulli writes about life in a town where time stands still -- it is always winter there and even death is not guaranteed. The cast is large and the pace frantic, and yet, Tulli deftly fills in her large brush strokes with the minutest details. The effect is like close ups of a carnival ride at full speed -- beautiful, but, also disorienting. Obviously, Tulli likes the effect. She is a stylistic at heart, and not particularly concerned with traditional plot development. Her prose reads like poetry ...more
A more depressing book I don't believe I've read in a long while. Tulli describes the ebb and flow of a fictitious town in Poland through the lives of certain high profiled individuals over time. Her intent, I think, is to emphasize greed and war destroy the fabric of humanity, and while her prose is certainly evocative and at time delicate, the overall tone of the book is dark. The Grim Reaper plays a central figure in this book, taking for himself, many an agonized soul.
i copy pasted this excerpt from monica carter's fantastic gr reivew
"Anyone who makes it to Stitchings appreciates its promising misty grayness and the moist warm breeze in which desires flourish so handsomely. A wide choice of furnished rooms with all the modern conveniences, and homemade meals available just around the corner, cheap and filling. Daybreaks and sunsets at fixed times. A moderate climate, flowers throughout the year. It's well worth making the long steamboat journey, putting up w
Jan 07, 2012 Stephen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academic Readers, Fiction Writers, Poets
Tulli engages torment by disengaging. A young maiden, pursued simultaneously by the town's two most eligible bachelors, has her heart suddenly stop beating yet continues to live and holes up in her father's house reading French romance novels never having to decide between the two. A father of a newly married bride drops mid-meal. Occupying German commanders from the first World War die without ever carrying out their purposeful plans for the conquered town of Stitchings. Tulli does not spend mo ...more
from publisher

Read 7/11/12 - 7/21/12
3.5 - Recommended to readers who don't mind not knowing where the story is taking them
Pgs: 158
Publisher: Archipelago Books

Whoever has been everywhere and has seen everything, last of all should pay a visit to Stitchings.

The first line of Magdalena Tulli's novel, In Red, seems innocuous enough at first glance. Go, see the world, do all the things in life you've dreamed of, then come chill with us, but only then - it appears to be saying.

And why, exactly, do yo
An interesting look at early 20th century Polish history (or it could be set anywhere in that boundless plain between Russia and Germany). Supposedly set during a mythical "fourth partition" of Poland, the "story" chronicles daily life among a handful of the residents of Stitchings, a seemingly magical place where time and space mean nothing, and one cannot escape this cursed place no matter how hard they try (unless they find a dirigible or a hot-air balloon).

An interesting read, but even more
Laurel Narizny
I love subtle, poetic writing such as Tulli's, so it came as a surprise that I found this book very difficult to get into. It's well worth the effort, though. Tulli's language is masterful, effectively creating a surreal multi-generational story of a town in Poland. The description on the book jacket that calls the town "claustrophobic" is dead on, though the suffocating atmosphere is somewhat mitigated by threads of magical realism. The story flows effortlessly from one tangentially related cha ...more
Reading In Red felt remarkably similar to watching a kinetic sculpture in motion--fascinating, but a little cold.
Jaclyn Michelle

Translated from Polish by Bill Johnson, the main character in Tulli's In Red is the fictional town of Stitchings. Part portrait, part magical realism, Tulli creates a town from which there may be no escape, chronicling the life and death of an ensemble of the town's figureheads. Chaotic, claustrophobic, and intensely lyrical, Tulli's strength lies in her insane command of language to create the mood and atmosphere of the piece.

Rubric rating: 7
An interesting exercise in reading. There is a story within the book, but the book is more like reading linked poetry. There is much that is confusing, but allowing the book to happen as you read it is really beautiful.
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Tedious. If I were being forced to write a one word review Magdalena Tulli’s In Red that’s the one I’d pick. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) I’m not. Therefore I shall press forward and explain just why this particular novel bored me to tears, but before I do I shall spend a few brief moments praising the pieces of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Kris Fernandez-everett
I understood the theme of this book loud and clear... but its pointless convolutions and frayed character edges were sloppy to me, not artistic or symbolic of transience... the longest 158 pages I've read in a while -- it's what happens when fantasticism and the post modern deviation from the linear story line run amok... I'll chalk it up to translation, but I think I'm being generous...
Mario Zambrano
A gem. I don't know how I found her, but I did. The voice is stunning. Time and place exist on a different plane in the story, as though the dimensions have been stretched, and the reflection is morphed. But it's seducing, and the language! I loved it.
Thomas McNeely
This was an intricately constructed, surreal allegory - though allegory isn't quite the right word - about the workings of capital during World War II. Imagine Italo Calvino meets W.G. Sebald, and you'll have some flavor of Tulli's style.
A decent effort at magical realism, but not quite a Calvino.
Lizzie marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2015
Declan marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2015
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In 1995 Magdalena Tulli got Kościelscy Award. She was shortlisted for the NIKE Award two times. Her books were translated to English, German, French, Czech, Hungarian and Latvian. She is a member of Polish Writers Society. In 2007 she got a special award - distinction of Gdynia Literary Award.

She translated a few books: The anger of heaven by Fleur Jaeggy (for this translation from Italian she rec
More about Magdalena Tulli...
Włoskie szpilki Szum Dreams and Stones Flaw Moving Parts

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