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A Chip Shop in Poznań

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  23 reviews
'One of the funniest books of the year' - Paul Ross, talkRADIO

Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament.

Ben Aitken moved to Poland in 2016 to understand why the Poles were leaving. He booked the cheapest flight he could find, to a place he had never heard of - Poznan. This candid,
...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published July 4th 2019 by Icon Books
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  120 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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Carole Edgeworth
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After a recent phase of reading about the holocaust and the Polish people’s dark and troubled past, I was ready to introduce a lighter period of literature into my life and the ‘Chip Shop in Poznan’ was right up my street and a good segway into a glimpse of post war, post-communist Poland.

Ben’s journey to discover the relationship between Poland and Britain and why so many Poles were leaving home, which just happened to be during the year of the referendum, was so colourful and witty that I
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Fiona Erskine
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging and soul baring book. It's also VERY funny.

The premise is brilliant - do to the Eastern Europeans what they do to the Brits - come over legally and work hard at the jobs we don't want. Unfortunately Ben would be the first to admit that his work ethic and time keeping makes the balance a little uneven.

And only in Poland would they make him debone whole, frozen cod and peel and slice potatoes in a fish shop. Or dry cows (love that mistranslation). Or teach
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Katia
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really liked this. It showed me Poland from a completely different angle, one which I hope to experience for myself one day.
Thought it was going to have more detail in certain areas- more in depth conversations etc. Answering the questions asked. But after reading it I think the detail is there it’s just more spread out. Focused more on people.
Gave me a good view into modern life in Poland. Political and social standings in Poland.
Descriptions and the way he noticed little things and him
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Deborah-Ruth
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every year hundreds of Poles move to the UK, but why? What is so special about Britain that they do so? In a strange twist of Immigration, Aitken sets off to discover for himself through moving to Poland for a year. In Poland he recounts his experiences of showing up uninvited to a stranger's house on Christmas, discovering how bad he is at making fish and chips as well as teaching, and visiting Auschwitz. I really enjoyed this book especially as soon I will be going to Poland myself. It was ...more
Jennifer
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was glad of having the end of this book to read on such a shameful day in the UK. I definitely need to seek out his 'Dear Bill Bryson' tour of Britain and I thought it brave of him to admit that he had not, because of the language barriers, been able to get under the skin of Poland and the Polish in the same way.

This is one of those engaging rambling, waffling, flaneur-ish books that is deceptively meaningful, quietly passionate. Aitken took his curiosity as the EU referendum approached to go
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C.A. Monks
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most of this travelogue is set in Poznan, a fabulous city I adore and have been to many times, the rest of the book reports from various places in Poland.
It's a great book, the enthusiasm the writer has for Poland and people in general really shines through.
Stewart Tunstall
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and insightful but a bit lacking in depth and description.
A bit like this review...
Kazik
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A light-hearted read that provided continuous good laughs. Very much enjoyed the footnotes that elaborate on the thoughts had at the time of writing.
Tessa Moult-Milewska
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ben Aitken is definitely great at chopping potatoes but he's even better at slicing apart and serving a surprising mixture of stories from the country at the "heart of Europe". A sincere, mischievious and hilariously funny journal of strange and absolutely normal encounters that made me wish to visit Poland, even though I'm Polish.
Marietta Milewska
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a great pleasure seeing your own country through the beady-eyes of an author who decided to leave a' comfort zone' to gain a true life experience. I couldn't help laughing. His observations are very accurate. Great ready.
Judith
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This was OK. I really didn't like the writing (or much care for the author as a result) and almost stopped reading it about 40ish pages in. But I persevered and it got a bit better. Some interesting bits about Poland, but not enough.
Dominik Moult-Milewski
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very refreshing view of my lovely hometown Poznan and Poland. Sometimes it requaires a foreigner to point out the beauty of small things all around us.
Carol Eastbourne
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, memoir, humour
I was given a free copy in return for an honest review. The rating says it all.
Oliwia K
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's off to a good start. Only few pages in but I already find the book entertaining. Also, the list of chapters is a good premise of some laughs to be had.
Boleslaw
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve loved racing through this sweet, funny, intimate account of the author’s time living and working in Poland, before and after the Brexit referendum.

I’ve found myself looking at my neighbourhood streets in London like they were newly exotic, as I’ve picked up the goggles of being an outside observer from reading the descriptions of Poznań.
And it has clever jokes and poignant jokes and silly jokes, and lots of lovely tinkly language, and a lot of drinking, and probably the best description of
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Oscar R
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, humour, poland
A thoughtful, meaningful and very funny read.

Aitken is the itchy-footed traveller that exists in all of us, yet none of us would be so bold as to migrate to a obscure part of a unfamiliar country and delve into its fast-food industry in order to inform us of our own nation’s strange position in the world. He’s a public-service flâneur.

I received the book in the post, opened it - flicked to the first chapter and stood in the kitchen reading it - before I knew it I’d already got to Chapter 3 and
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Tom
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because nearly all of my Polish and German ancestors are from the Poznan area. Aitken is an engaging companion and guide, although he sometimes writes too much about himself, and some of his adventures seem pointless. That aside, I particularly liked his unannounced visit to a Polish family on Christmas Eve. His reflections on Brexit, Trump, the EU, walls and bridges are particularly pithy and poignant, given his experiences. A wry and funny book, and you might learn a few words ...more
Sheila
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
Read a review in Geographical that said author was arrogant and lazy and hopeless. Well, all publicity is good publicity because such an allegation got my ears up. I read the first chapter sample, then read the book, then decided not to take that reviewer very seriously again. You can't criticise a lemon for not being a pear.
EscapefromMe
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book, but found it really hard to get through. The writer's style didn't really engage me and felt a bit arrogant at times. It did get better towards the end, I'll admit. Personally, I preferred Jay Martin's Vodka and Apple Juice for a glimpse of life in Poland.
Zula Rabikowska
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
As a Polish person I think this boom was full of stereotypes. The narrative seemed to emanate a sense of entitlement, which put me off finishing the book.
Amory
Sep 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
A seemingly endless journal of insignificant events of the authors dull tedious experiences. The only way I could finish this book was with 8 rounds of .45acp
Sara Elizabeth
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little recount of the author immersing himself in to a different culture and language and making the most of things, looking for simple beauties.
MarcB
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really fun and easy approach to his time in Poland, really cool reflections on life aspects and his take in some of Europes and worlds issues, i recommend it highly as its also fast lecture.
Susan Leahy
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2020
Frances
rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2019
Jakub
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2020
Lennox
rated it it was amazing
Jan 21, 2020
Jack Leach
rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2019
Lisa Thom
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2020
Kasia
rated it did not like it
Jul 22, 2019
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Ben Aitken was born under Thatcher, grew to 6ft then stopped, and is an Aquarius. He followed Bill Bryson around the UK for Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island (2015), then moved to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland is the fruit of that unusual migration.