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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,784 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
A semi-autobiographical, satirical novel that throws into perspective all of Gombrowicz's major literary, philosophical, psychological and social concerns. Throughout the book Gombrowicz ridicules the self-centred pomposity of the Polish community in Argentina.
Paperback, 152 pages
Published August 30th 1995 by Yale University Press (first published 1950)
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Lalka by Bolesław PrusFerdydurke by Witold GombrowiczKrew elfów by Andrzej SapkowskiSolaris by Stanisław LemThe Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
Best Polish Books
57th out of 404 books — 382 voters
The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno SchulzLalka by Bolesław PrusFerdydurke by Witold GombrowiczPan Tadeusz by Adam MickiewiczQuo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Best Polish Literature
32nd out of 81 books — 61 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,925)
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Kobe Bryant
Apr 18, 2014 Kobe Bryant rated it it was ok
This book would have obviously been a lot better in the original language but what am I gonna do, learn Polish?
Aug 06, 2012 Marina rated it it was amazing
Trans-Atlantyk is a remarkably funny satire written in a fast-paced style. I seem to have been lucky in that I read this novel in the superb Spanish translation by Mexican author Sergio Pitol and Kazimierz Piekarek. For those disappointed English readers: there may be a forthcoming new English translation by Danuta Borchardt, who writes the fg concerning the (need for a new) translation:
The previous translation by Carolyn French and Nina Karsov was directly from the Polish. It is a valiant atte
Oct 03, 2009 Jaga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible, grotesque presentation of the insufferable insanity of Polishness. Proverbial heroism, hospitality, religiousness, all streaked with malice, pettiness and selfishness. Also, it's untranslatable, sorry.

PS. Yes, I know it was actually translated but it cannot convey the author's intention. Which is sort of paradoxical considering Gombrowicz's postulate was to create universal literature and here we have a book written in a crazy brew of Sienkiewicz's vernacular of 17/18th century nobi
Andrew Bourne
Mar 04, 2009 Andrew Bourne rated it really liked it
Difficult. The translation does enslime the already slippery play of the premise, cranked through 2 continents and spoke on several tongues. For the steeliest fans it merits a slow exasperating rereading. There is yelling and whispering both, and repetition. There is a rushing from place to place and a pleading for pesos. I feel as though it is certainly good in Polish and when read by a Pole, but in English (and Olde English to boot) not as gratifying as his other reads. It's a difficult shape ...more
Judyta Szaciłło
Read in original, and I can't really imagine how on earth it can be translated. The rythm of the language, the play of words, the absolutely unique phrasing - oh my, it must have been a tough challenge for the translator. Dream-like and painfully real at the same time. And very interesting from purely historical point of view - a Polish guy stranded in Argentina after the WW2 broke out. An insight to a rich, complex soul living in shocking times.
Kasia Grabska
Jan 22, 2016 Kasia Grabska rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The grotesque book about the relationship between the person and the nation, which is exacerbated by migration and historical circumstances. Grotesque by genre, but also by results, as the story aimed as universal is almost incomprehensible for a foreign reader both because of translation problems as well as importance of the national historical and literary context.

The concepts of mask, form and action-reaction, so well pronounced in Ferdydurke, come back as the focal points. Nationality is yet
Ümit Nar
Aug 20, 2015 Ümit Nar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
alabildiğine ironik, can acıtacak denli eğlenceli, karmakarışık, saçma bir roman yazmış Gombrowicz; milliyetçilikle, vatanseverlikle, bilumum yiğitler ve yiğitlikleriyle, savaşseverlerle fena dalgasını geçmiş.

kapısı kapalı gibi görünse de rahatlıkla çıkılabileceği aşikar, karanlık, havasız bir odada birbirlerini durmaksızın mahmuzlayan insanların, "Leh'in Gücü"nü cümle âleme göstermeye çalışırken rezil olup, türlü felaketlere yol açanların hikâyesi..

o mahmuzlar önemli, hepimizde var çünkü.

Oct 09, 2013 Tom rated it liked it
This is not light reading. The book is an English translation of a Polish book which satirizes an antiquated style of Polish novel. Obscure enough for you? Actually, it's more readable than I describe. More than satire, the book seems to be a surreal trip down the rabbit hole. I wish I had a few of my Polish speaking friends living in the neighborhood so they could shed a bit of light upon it for me.
Marek Tomalski
May 10, 2013 Marek Tomalski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Owóż powieść ta to kapitalna rozprawa Gombrowicza z polskością. „Polemika z Panem Tadeuszem” to lektura zabawna, ciekawa pełna genialnego humoru ale i nierówna zarazem., Język gawędy szlacheckiej, barokowy, efektowny ale „tyż” i męczący, zwłaszcza przy kulminacji.

Jednakowoż te Gombrowicza zgrywy, szarże, gryzienia, kopania i szarpania z „Synczyzną” warte są przeczytania i polecenia zarazem.
Magda Kasprzyk
Dec 27, 2012 Magda Kasprzyk rated it it was amazing
"Trans Atlantyk jest między innymi satyrą. I jest także, między innymi, dość nawet intensywnym porachunkiem [...] z Polską taką, jaką stworzyły warunki jej historycznego bytowania i jej umieszczenia w świecie (to znaczy z Polską s ł a b ą). I zgadzam się, że jest to statek korsarski, który przemyca sporo dynamitu, aby rozsadzić nasze dotychczasowe uczucia narodowe."

Witold Gombrowicz
Aug 05, 2016 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to labor through this book. Since last year I've been chomping at the bit to read Witold Gombrowicz ever since the publishing house, el cuenco de la plata, began releasing a series of his writings translated into Spanish. It seems Sergio Pitol has been commended for his translation of a difficult, and often deemed impossible, translation of this surreal biography of Witold's first days in Buenos Aires. Despite this praise, the Castilian Spanish was the first contribution to a vicissitude o ...more
Nov 13, 2009 kasia rated it it was ok
I really like Gombrowicz, but this book just doesn't do it for me. I've read it at least 4 times now, and while I enjoy it a little more each time, I still just don't like it that much.

-- And yet again... still can't seem to enjoy this book.
Huśtawka Arytmiczna
Ulubiony obrazek: polskie plemię stłoczone w piwnicy, wbijające w się ostrogi; otwarte drzwi i niemożność wydostania się.
Mar 27, 2016 Skut333 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Останні десять сторінок це було як покарання. Ти не можеш дочитати і відірватись теж не можеш. Гомбрович надовго засідає в голові і майже кожна сторінка це привід замислитись та відвести очі від сторінки. Проте, в цій книзі є ще одне страшенно важливе для мене це тема вітчизни і патріотизму, а саме препарування (а радше випатрошування) цих понять. Щоб усі змогли роздивитись що ж ховається за яскравою машкарою і розчути який звук насправді за звуком фанфар та гімнів. Гомбрович не є простим він ра ...more
Oct 16, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: polish
Like the James Joyce of Poland.
May 21, 2015 Meeg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Borchardt explains in her note at the beginning of "Trans-Atlantyk: An Alternate Translation" (Yale Press 2014) that Gombrowicz wrote Trans-Atlantyk in the style of a gaweda or "fire side chat," "a tale, a mode of interaction at social gatherings of the sixteenth to nineteenth-century Sarmatian Polish nobility in their country manors." The style of the gaweda was reflected in seventeenth-century Polish literature; there's no Anglophone equivalent, so Borchardt made the bold decision to incorpora ...more
Monica Carter
Jul 22, 2009 Monica Carter rated it liked it

Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz is one of those books that I wish I could read in the original language because I know that then I would be reading the true essence of the book. And in this case, a probable masterpiece. But after having read this translation, I can only recommend it to people who must read all Gombrowicz, Polish literature fanatics and those people interested in homosexual literature at all costs to patience. This is a tough read. Not because of the style itself, but because
Mar 19, 2008 julieta rated it it was ok
Shelves: los-mas-o-menos
Que desesperante libro!!! Es sátira, surrealismo, locura total!!! Me recuerda al mood kafkiano, pero sin ser kafka, me pareció absurdo y medio divertido, aunque a veces lo quería tirar por la ventana. Seguramente tiene simbolismos que yo no llego a captar por toda la cuestión de que es escrito por un exiliado Polaco en Argentina ( de hecho por eso me llamó la atención) pero fué muy desesperante, la historia de gombrowicz, y todas las cosas que le suceden en buenos aires desde que llega (que pued ...more
Un roman où le dérisoire est roi ! Le style utilisé par Gombrowicz est particulièrement déroutant, parce qu'il coupe sans cesse ses phrases par des archaïsmes, par la crudité du langage, le ton oral développé à l'extrême. C'est ce qui fait à mon avis l'intérêt de ce roman : l'exagération du grotesque pousse à une seconde lecture plus subtile.
Un petit extrait : "-Que Votre Seigneurie me pardonne, répondis-je, mais vanter mon propre bien, moi, ça me gêne.
-Voyez-moi ce cerveau creux, dit-il, cette
I Watts
Aug 08, 2014 I Watts rated it liked it
"Therefore a small crumb of bread on an inkpot having noticed, I often upon this crumb but did look and it even with the end of my pen did touch... "

Gombrowicz is fantastically weird. Even in translation his unusual syntax delivers character, and moment with microscopic precision and humor. The details are absurd, the magnitude of minutia is his art, philosophy, and political commentary.
This is quite a difficult book to read having been translated into a sort of Shakespearen prose, which is supposed to represent the original in Polish.

This is compounded by the fact that it is all rather surreal. The nonsense mounting as the book progresses until one is happy that it ends. I felt vaguely dissatisfied when I had finished. Nothing was resolved, everything was empty and in pieces - but perhaps this is the point, for surely this was Gombrowitz's condition at the time of writing this
Djani Pervan
Mar 14, 2014 Djani Pervan rated it it was amazing
hard to read at start (translated version at least) crazy and weird and funny
Jan Moryn
Jul 11, 2016 Jan Moryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polish
Każdego Polaka lektura obowiązkowa.
Mar 31, 2016 Alice rated it did not like it
Non-sense polish book.
Поль Бєрковіц
Mar 03, 2016 Поль Бєрковіц rated it it was amazing
Прекрасний переклад А.Бондара. Можливість подивитись на творчість Гомбровича з іншого кута
Aug 15, 2015 verrornic rated it it was ok
samo życie. nihil novi.
Jan 18, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
I am confident that I would have enjoyed this book more if I either could read Polish or had more cultural context. Still, it came to me so highly recommended that I plan to read more Gombrowicz.
Nov 28, 2007 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I cannot say anything more about Gombrowicz - maybe it's just how refreshing his prose is compared to these 'postmodern' American stylists I've spent probably too much time reading lately...
Nov 05, 2011 Aleš rated it really liked it
Read it twice - horrible both times, but that was my fault, because I just read through it - I didn't think. After thinking about it some more, it's a good book, at times even funny.
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Witold Marian Gombrowicz (August 4, 1904 in Małoszyce, near Kielce, Congress Poland, Russian Empire – July 24, 1969 in Vence, near Nice, France) was a Polish novelist and dramatist. His works are characterized by deep psychological analysis, a certain sense of paradox and an absurd, anti-nationalist flavor. In 1937 he published his first novel, Ferdydurke, which presented many of his usual themes: ...more
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“A jak tak se svými Papíry a Myslí dováděl, inteligentněji se stával stále stále inteligentnějším a ta jeho inteligence, sama sebou rozmnožená a sama na sobě obkročmo sedíc, v tak ukrutnou inteligenci přerůstala, že člověka až hrůza jímala!” 2 likes
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