Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe” as Want to Read:
On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe

by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  507 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Andrzej Stasiuk is a restless and indefatigable traveler. His journeys take him from his native Poland to Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Moldova, and Ukraine. By car, train, bus, ferry. To small towns and villages with unfamiliar-sounding yet strangely evocative names. “The heart of my Europe,” Stasiuk tells us, “beats in Sokolow, Podlaski, and in Husi, not ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 16th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On the Road to Babadag, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On the Road to Babadag

Lalka by Bolesław PrusFerdydurke by Witold GombrowiczKrew elfów by Andrzej SapkowskiSolaris by Stanisław LemKamienie na szaniec by Aleksander Kamiński
Best Polish Books
94th out of 380 books — 303 voters
Imperium by Ryszard KapuścińskiThis Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz BorowskiThe Doll by Bolesław PrusShah of Shahs by Ryszard KapuścińskiWith Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Polish Books Published in English
36th out of 154 books — 44 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,320)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Declan
Photobucket"

If this photograph by André Kertész takes hold of your thoughts and your imagination, you might understand why Andrzej Stasiuk writes: "It's possible that everything I've written so far began with this photograph...The space of this photograph hypnotizes me, and all my travelling has had only one purpose: to find, at long last, the secret passage into its interior" The strange aspect of this for me is that I, who have never been in Eastern Europe, long to be there too, and not just in that str
...more
Kinga
'On the Road to Babadag' won all possible awards in Poland and for a while it was all everybody was reading and talking about. So imagine my disappointment when I started reading it and all I wanted to do was to hurl it against the wall. It’s because I thought this would be a travel book. I thought Stasiuk would leave some small town in Poland and go through Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria etc. until finally he would reach Babadag, Romania where the book would end. ...more
Lisa Lieberman
A strange little book. Since the author jumped around a lot, I gave myself permission to read it randomly. I was mostly interested in what he experienced in Hungary, so I searched out those sections first, came across a passage, which I will quote in full, because it gets to the quirky loveliness of Stasiuk's writing:
Nothing in Talkibánya, a village that hadn’t changed in a hundred years. Wide, scattered houses under fruit trees. The walls a sulfurous, bilious yellow, the wood carving deep brow
...more
Elaine
Nov 25, 2011 Elaine rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Seemed like a 10 page essay that became a 250 page book through repetition repetition and repetition. This is a po-mo travel book -- travel without identifying context, just an endless list of Eastern European place names obscure enough to make you feel at first ashamed of your own ignorance and finally simply annoyed at the repeated refusal to communicate anything that would help us place these places. Travel that loses any purpose bc all the places are the same, simply names. The sense of pove ...more
Adam
If you enjoy reading about crumbling stucco, peeling paintwork, places forgotten by time and the outside world, the backwaters of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, byways hidden by mist, melancholia, ferries to nowhere, drinking in forlorn bars, decay, the detritus of post-communism, village squares overgrown with untended trees, and sleepy border crossings, then this might be the book for you. All of these things and others dealt with by the Stasiuk, the author, fascinate me, but somehow his book ...more
Rosalee
Sep 03, 2014 Rosalee added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Beautiful from the very first paragraph:

"Yes, it's only that fear, those searchings, tracings, tellings whose purpose is to hide the unreachable horizon. It's night again, and everything departs, disappears, shrouded in black sky. I am alone and I must remember events, because the terror of the unending is upon me. The soul dissolves in space like a drop in the sea, and I am too much a coward to have faith in it, too old to accept its loss; I believe it is only through the visible that we can k
...more
Catalina
I would say I finish 95% of the books I start. BUt this one didn't make the cut. I picked it up because it was about the Balkans and Eastern Europe- my favourite places. Furthermore, the overarching theme, the second-hand europe, that is not really Europe; a land that frightens most, that is whispered by Westerners with a certain cautionary tone...as the place to travel.
I understand how the writer might have wanted to have written this book in such a confusing manner- because we, Eastern EUrope
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
There are 167 stamps on Andrzej Stasiuk's passport. Or, at least, there were so many when this book was published. Probably Mr Stasiuk hit 200 stamps in the meantime. And I would be glad if he did, for each of these stamps has a story to tell and the author of "On the Road to Babadag" is the right person to do that.

What you will find here is the perfect combination of the celebrated "Danube" by Claudio Magris with the Eastern Europe travels of "Michael Palin's Europe" recently televised by the B
...more
John
The travel essay parts are quite interesting, but the ... ummm ... reflective parts not so much. Lots and lots of obscure eastern European place names thrown at the reader, making it difficult to tell what country he was talking about, and I'm fairly good at geography! Recommended only for those with a very strong interest in eastern Europe, otherwise this one may well end up on your Did Not Finish pile; I managed to get the end, but there was effort involved at times.
metralindol
Описувати таку книгу важко, позаяк вона прочиняє двері у море візаульності, яке може видатися чужим людині, не знайомій хоча б побіжно із краями, про які йдеться Авторові. І це, мабуть, і добре, й недобре водночас. Недобре, бо породжує несприйняття, втім, на кожну книгу - свій читач. Схожа на старий альбом вицвілих світлин, "Дорогою на Бабадаґ" уміщує ціле життя, вічну в спекотному полуденні сієсту, коли час нескінченно розтягується, і навіть якщо й діється щось, то насправді врешті-решт нічого ...more
itpdx
This is a treasure--impressionistic, haunting journeys in the land between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas-Slovakia, Moldavo, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary--towns with names in three languages or more--mountains, plains and corn fields--pubs, border crossings, buses, trains and ferries. Stasiuk seeks the edges, the eternal of his Europe.

"It gives me no rest, my wish to know the fate of all these scenes that entered my eyes and have remained in my thoughts. What happens to th
...more
Peter Landau
Reading the densely detailed travelogue ON THE ROAD TO BABADAG: TRAVELS IN THE OTHER EUROPE by Andrzej Stasiuk reminded me of science fiction. It’s exotic and strange as another planet, but those alien landscapes are imagined by earthbound men who project to the stars. Most every space creature shares our basic biology and the climate and topography of those distant lands reflects the deserts or tropics or metropolises that we know. If we were to see something truly unfamiliar we wouldn’t recogn ...more
Yakshto
My favorite travel memoir. Central and Southeastern Europe, wine, cigarettes, dust, train stations, old trucks, forgotten history and the soul of the writer beautifully woven together in an impressionistic narrative.
Evan Rail
"Not so much," as my three-year-old daughter might put it: after many tries, I just can't get into "On the Road to Babadag" and am giving myself the gift of not having to finish it. Like much of Eastern European literature, the writing here is episodic and highly impressionistic, but while that approach might (or might not) work for something like poetry, in a book-length travelogue this kind of writing feels like it is greatly lacking in structure, and — more importantly —depth.

Characters, for
...more
Will
A most wonderful book I never wanted to end. The way I travel, the way I love places, put into lyrically poetic prose like none other I've ever read:

"Clearly I am drawn to decline, decay, to everything that is not as it could or should be. Whatever stops in half stride because it lacks the strength or will or imagination to continue. Whatever gives in, gives up, does not last, and leaves no trace. Whatever in its passing stirs no regret or reminiscence. The present imperfect. Histories that live
...more
Sorin Hadârcă
Andrzei Stasiuk bypasses the big cities and favors the small god forgotten towns of Eastern Europe. He thinks that in nothingness and degradation there are more chances to catch a glimpse of the world as it once was. Built to last is something as absurd here as the Disneyland. I will use his words saying: "An eternal end reigns in this land and the children are being born already tired. In the opaque light of a late autumn, the faces, the bodies and the gestures of the people are more expressive ...more
Barbara McVeigh
Poetic, meditative, and at times piercingly insightful, On the Road to Babadag takes the reader on a trip to the other side of Europe. As one reviewer commented, "On the Road to Babadag...is valuable reading...If we can't read our way around Europe, how will we ever find our place, our identity, within it?" (For the entire review: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/...).

Stasiuk describes the hallucinatory aspects of his trips; his writing sometimes follows suit. After awhile, I found I had to
...more
Nancy
I liked this book. It kind of reminded me of Novakovich's Plum Brandy, but in a different part of the Balkans, primarily Romania. I am glad that a map was provided in the front of the book; I referred to it often, though sometimes I was unable to find places referenced, all of which were previously unknown to me.

"Small countries should be allowed to cut history class. They should be like islands off to the side of the main current of progress." (87)

"What is memory, anyway, if not the endless exc
...more
Nelleke
Helaas is de zomervakantie net voorbij, maar van dit boek kreeg ik spontaan zin om op vakantie te gaan naar Hongarije, Roemenie, Oekraine, Moldavie of ALbanie.
Ik beleefde deze landen alsof ik er echt was, inclusief de geur van koeienvlaaien, zigeuners en kleine verlaten dorpjes. Prachtige verhalen.
Przemek
Na ostatniej stronie okładki wydawca napisał, że jest to książka podróżnicza przede wszystkim w sensie duchowym. Może i tak, szkoda tylko, że przez język użyty przez autora miałem wrażenie podróżowania z prostakiem. W powieści taki język byłby może ciekawym sposobem kreowania postaci ale w książce podróżniczej (reportażu?) swojej funkcji nie spełnia. No i kogo obchodzą te wszystkie zwierzęce odchody? Podwozie samochodu umazane krowimi gównami, końskie gówna, owcze gówna, droga umazana zieloną sr ...more
Marek Tomalski
Reportaż. Przez pierwsze kilka rozdziałów trzeba przywyknąć do stylu Stasiuka. Później wciąga i może nawet porwać. Podróż jednak bardziej w strumieniu świadomości autora niż wzdłuż, południka Konieczna-Koszyce-Tokaj-Arad-Timiszoara i Skopje. Podróż w „Jadąc do Babadag” jest swoistą ucieczką przed Zachodem, a kraje Europy Środkowej i obrzeży Bałkanów – to kraje, które zachowały swoją specyficzną wartość m.in. dzięki zacofaniu.
Monika
książkę czytałam na raty, aż w końcu trafiła w dobry moment i dokończyłam ją. Nostalgiczne opisy świata odchodzącego w niepamięć, ale nie przejmującego się tym. Napisana dobrym językiem, wracać do niej można całe życie, bo nie pamięta się treści. Jedyne co zapada w pamięć, to atmosfera melancholii i świat "totalnej rozjebki" w Europie południowo wschodniej.
!Tæmbuŝu
Nov 10, 2011 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Anna
Journey diary taking you through the Europe that doesn't exist in tour guides and is thought to be worse and primitive - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Slovenia, Moldovia. By car, hitch-hiking, by train. Nice read.
Hana
Kinga loved it for the poetry. Maybe I'll try this as a second or third read after more introductory books on the 'Other Europe'.
Cheryl
I did not actually finish the book. I gave up.
Jacek
It's a brilliantly written book, but just not exactly the kind of story I enjoy, hence the low rating. I'm pretty sure lots of people will find it fascinating :)
Jochen
Rhapsodische Reiseberichte, sympathisch in der Haltung und in der Vorliebe für verlorene Grenzregionen, aber wirr und zäh zu lesen.
Manuel Fernandez
Un ensayo que se pudo terminar en 10 páginas pero continuó ad infinitum por otras 260.
Kobe Bryant
Cool anecdotes about random people and things in Eastern Europe
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gottland
  • Biała gorączka
  • House of Day, House of Night
  • Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea
  • Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli
  • Between the Woods and the Water
  • Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus
  • The Snows of Yesteryear
  • Imperium
  • Jutro przypłynie królowa
  • The Mighty Angel
  • The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us
  • The Culture of Lies: Antipolitical Essays
  • Pamiętnik z Powstania Warszawskiego
  • They Were Counted
  • Modlitwa o deszcz
  • Madame
  • Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere
201452
Andrzej Stasiuk is one of the most successful and internationally acclaimed contemporary Polish writers, journalists and literary critics. He is best known for his travel literature and essays that describe the reality of Eastern Europe and its relationship with the West.

After being dismissed from secondary school, Stasiuk dropped out also from a vocational school and drifted aimlessly, became act
...more
More about Andrzej Stasiuk...
Fado Tales of Galicia Mury Hebronu Dojczland Jak zostałem pisarzem (próba autobiografii intelektualnej)

Share This Book

“Sometimes I get up before sunrise to watch the way the dark thins out and objects slowly reveal themselves, the trees, the rest of the landscape. You can hear the river below and roosters in the village. The light of dawn, cold and blue, gradually fills the world, and it's the same in every place I've been.” 11 likes
“The future is fiction. It will come, of course, we hear about it all the time, but the old wisdom knows that only what is, and what was, exists. The rest does not, because no one ever saw it or touched it.” 5 likes
More quotes…