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The Mighty Angel

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,129 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The Mighty Angel concerns the alcoholic misadventures of a writer named Jerzy. Eighteen times he's woken up in rehab. Eighteen times he's been released—a sober and, more or less, healthy man—after treatment at the hands of the stern therapist Moses Alias I Alcohol. And eighteen times he's stopped off at the liquor store on the way home, to pick up the supplies that are ...more
Hardcover, 155 pages
Published April 15th 2009 by Open Letter (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Jul 11, 2019 added it
Shelves: polish
For the first time ever, YouTube let me down. This book begins with a drunken Polish writer named Jerzy in mid-dissolution listening to Feliks Slovák, a Czech tenor saxophonist, playing Karel Svoboda's "Where've you got your nest, little bird?" This sounded right up my alley, but YouTube never heard of Slovák, nor that particular piece by Svoboda. And other pieces by Svoboda didn't do much for me.

Nor did the peach vodka that our protagonist swizzled.

So I had to read this with my own musical and
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You either like this book or hate it (my personal experience when I told few people that I was reading it). I think this is an excellent book--truthful and real. Yes, it is book about drinking and writing--but it is also a book about life, Polish misery, and love. And who doesn't believe in love?
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Dałabym 1.5 gwiazdki, ale się nie da. Najpierw Stasiuk, teraz Pilch... Muszę chyba odpocząć od polskich książek o chlaniu, chlaniu, wódzie i jeszcze raz chlaniu. Nie wiem o co Pilchowi chodzi, strasznie mnie ta książka zmęczyła, nie czuję się po niej ani odrobinę mądrzejsza ani w żaden sposób oświecona i nie chcę już czytać żadnych książek o alkoholikach, bo przez tą ledwo przeszłam. Ogromny przerost formy nad treścią, mnóstwo bełkotliwych wynurzeń, które mnie zwyczajnie irytowały - nie wiem ...more
Karolina Kat
Naprawdę dobrze napisana książka, której niestety zabrakło treści.
Monica Carter
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Friends, I can't begin to tell you how much I love me a confessional novel about a Polish down and out alcoholic in rehab. And not because Salonica is turning one year old and feel like having the fete of the decade. And no, The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch is not an adaptation of a reality television show. What this is is a pure matter-of-fact, tell-it-like-it-t-i-s tale of a boozing writer trying to get it together. Rather figuring out if he wants to actually get it together or not. Now don't ...more
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: polish
It is sad for Hans Fallada that this book exists. I read about 100 pages of Fallada and was horribly bored, however after reading this the next 50 pages of fallada have been much better, so perhaps Fallada should thank him.

the point is the world is better for this book existing, It is nothing besides a drunken rant that makes no sense and better the author seems to spend half a chapter arguing with his imaginary friend.

This book is perfect for people who enjoy books about hiding under the bed.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Po ksiażkę sięgnęłam po obejrzeniu trailera do filmu Smażowskiego na jej podstawie. Było o piciu, o odtruciu, delirium, o wyjściu i o zejsciu. Piło się po polsku, za Polskę, przez Polskę. Był też czarny, momentami denaturowy humor, groteska i krzywe zwierciadło. Jednak przede wszytskim były zdania. Zdania wielokrotnie złożone, przez które płyneło się gładko jak po gorzkiej żołądkowej.
That's how you write about addictions. Sometimes strange, sometimes moving but always painfully accurate. It's a rare thing when you can actually be inside the head of the author and absorb the story as subjectively and deliriously as himself.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
pijacki bełkot o alkoholu. I tyle.
Sara Zovko
Feb 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nedovr-ene
Imala sam velika očekivanja od ove knjige ali ni jedan me lik nije zainteresirao, a najmanje glavni, ni jedna njegova priča, ni ljubav, ni život, ništa mi nije djelovalo dovoljno bitno, ni zanimljivo. Cijelo to alkoholno buncanje nije mi djelovalo previše uvjerljivo, dok se na kraju nisam uhvatila kako samo preskačem čitave rečenice, a na kraju i odlomke , samo da dođem do kraja.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Alberta pažvelgė į mane su tokia švelnia atjauta, su kokia moteris žvelgia į iš prigimties už save kvailesnį vyrą."

"Kažkur mano viduriuose, diafragmos, širdies ir plaučių srityje, kvėpavimo takų ir kraujotakos sistemos srityje, plaučių ir stuburo srityje, žiojėjo neigiama čakra, anatominė ertmė, vidujinė raumenų, o gal tarpšonkaulinė skylė, verpstės formos ir pusės litro talpos. Buvau kaip sunki gero darbo spinta su slapta tuščia lentyna, imdavau sidabrinį lyg kamštelis raktą, atsirakindavau
Aaron Mcquiston
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: open-letter
There are no real exclamation points involved in a novel about a guy, also named Jerzy, whom has been in rehab for alcoholism 18 times, been sober 18 times, and stops at a bar on the way from rehab, all 18 times, a bar called "The Mighty Angel." This is the title of the book, but also a metaphor for what Jerzy is really looking for throughout his journey, a mighty angel to save him from himself. And let's be honest. Nobody really can stop an addict from relapsing except for the addict, and this ...more
Marek Tomalski
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wspaniała powieść. Niebywale inteligentna konfesja alkoholika. Pilch uzależnia. Idę do nocnego.
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LibraryThing Review: i think Jerzy Pilch is a phenomenal writer! In "The Mighty Angel" Pilch bombards the reader with the experience of being a regular on an "alco" ward in a rehab facility. Question.....Are the characters, like Don Juan the Rib, the Queen of Kent, and the Hero of Socialist Labor, representations of aspects of the narrator, or individuals? The narrator's perspective on alcoholism, alcoholics & alcohol is gritty, tough, and incredibly insightful. Is it just a coincidence that ...more
Marek Pawlowski
Książka mnie zawiodła, spodziewałem się o wiele większej błyskotliwości w opisie oraz ciętego języka, który tak mnie zachwycił w „Moim pierwszym samobójstwie”. Opisy postaci alkoholików mieszkających na "oddziale deliryków" poza dwoma (Krzysztofa Kolumba Odkrywcy i kobiety, która pije, aby pokonać swą nieśmiałość) wydawały mi się za proste. Gdzieś w połowie książki Pilch umieszcza sporo cytatów sławnych ludzi o alkoholu, jednakże i to wydaje się wciśnięte tam trochę na siłę. Choć może w tej ...more
Jane Griffiths
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's about drinking, and salvation, and Poland, and love. It's very funny too. Addiction is mysterious, including to those who have it, and this is done very well. It peters out a bit after the halfway mark, but gets its mojo back by the end. Dostoevsky treats all these subjects at huge length, and the writer's debt to him is clear. I would not have read this if it had not been for my book group, in fact had never heard of Jerzy Pilch before. Only this and one other (His Current Woman) have been ...more
Chad Post
Nov 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
DISCLAIMER: I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it. So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.
Jasmine Chen
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a book on the philosophy of addiction and alcoholism. Many interesting points considered and debated but some of them went no where. At some point the delirium became quite difficult to follow but I guess that’s the point. It only took 11 months to finish this book as it was kinda difficult to pick it up again after pausing.

All in all, interesting writing, intelligent discussion but can do with more directions, one to revisit for clarification.
Agnė Bružaitė
"Reik sudeginti mišką, reik sudeginti sniegą, reik sudegint pasaulį. Ir neilgtrukus - ugnis, milžiniška ugnimi suliepsnoja snieguoti kalnai, viskas taip, tarytum nuo angelo sparno būtų nukritęs vienas kraujo lašas. Nėr tavęs, nėr tavęs - ir nebus niekada. Tvenkiny, tvenkiny - plauko gulbė balta."
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good, but not essential.
Agnieszka Małgorzata
Absolutely amazing. A beautiful, absorbing, and funny portrayal of the nightmare of addiction.
Krzysiek Kuczera
Kunsztowna rama, w którą nie oprawiono żadnego obrazu. Niby ładne, ale strasznie puste.
Agnieszka Dziakowska
Książka nie jest zbyt interesująca ani porywająca, tak jak i nie jest codzienna rzeczywistość alkoholika. Wszystkie te emocjonalne uniesienia, tanie wzruszenia i jałowe dyskusję, czytając czułam te znużenie jakie osoba trzeźwa odczuwa w rozmowie z pijanym, równocześnie czasem aż zakręciło mi się w głowie od samych opisów delirycznych urojeń i majaczenia.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Stephen by: Chad W. Post
This story of alcoholic absurdist cleverness starts surprisingly well—the narrator-protagonist's account of his binge discipline has undeniable élan, and his response to the aspiring extortionist gangster-and-poetess combo is brilliantly counter-intuitive—but when the narrative energy centered on "Jerzy" peters out halfway through, a reader is mired in a bunch of poorly drawn sketches of the clinic's would-be colorful supporting cast. The return to the narrator-protagonist comes too late and ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Przeczytałam ją w momencie, gdy film Smarzowskiego wdzierał się na rynek z ogromną potęgą medialnych zapowiedzi. Pomyślałam - stop - na początek pierwowzór, książka, tekst. Tym bardziej, że wszystkie obrazy Smarzowskiego cechuje brutalność, aż boli od tej prawdy ... Książka niezbyt obszerna, w tym mnóstwo cytatów z wypowiedzi, twórczości różnych facetów po przejściach, acz ... geniuszy. Literacko, poetycznie, prawdziwie i dowcipnie w niej o alkoholowych transach, przyjaciółce butelce, ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nie spodziewałam się tego, przyznaję.
Kilka(naście?) lat temu sięgnęłam po "Miasto utrapienia", które, znudzona, odłożyłam na półkę, przerwawszy mniej więcej w połowie. I zapomniałam o Pilchu na długi czas; nadałam mu wręcz łatkę delikatnego grafomana, a potem gnana owczym pędem wybrałam się do kina na "Pod mocnym aniołem" (łamiąc zasadę przeczytania powieści przed obejrzeniem jej ekranizacji; założyłam jednak, że Pilcha nie przeczytam już nigdy) - chyba wszyscy wiemy, jak dramatycznie ten film
Paweł Fiszer
Napisana ze swadą i "pilchowską" elokwencją opowieść alkoholika o byciu w nałogu i o próbie z niego wyjścia. Czy miłość potrafi ocalić Jerzego? Czy może jest li tylko jeszcze jedną projekcją pijanego umysłu? Erupcje wulkanów słów, feerie barwnych opisów, zabawne anegdotki i gdzieś w tle ponure memento, że alkoholizm to śmiertelny nałóg, a nie kaprys niedojrzałych osobowości. Zło czai się w kącie pokoju i nie ocali alkoholika przysypanie go stertami starych butów z dna szafy. Prywatny szatan kusi ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The fictional account of writer Jerzy's 8 trips to rehab. He can't stop drinking and waxes poetic about it at times. The book wants to be satirical but the satire is dry and without cultural clarity. Pilch is desperate to impress the mystical poetics of sobering up, and at times reaches the level of experience, but the novel hides more than it reveals. I sensed that the hiding was a parlor trick, a journalist's sleight of hand, since he seemed to have few insights to offer, and even less wit ...more
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly written, unfocused and ranting, beautiful, pathetic, and hilarious. This account of a Polish alcoholic's binges and subsequent multiple rehab stints is one of the best things I've read in a while.
James McNulty
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really great book examining the role of a storyteller as well as the motivations and experiences surrounding alcoholism. Reads almost like a collection of short stories and works well within each individual chapter.
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Jerzy Pilch is one of the most important contemporary Polish writers and journalists.

Critics have compared Pilch's style to Witold Gombrowicz, Milan Kundera, or Bohumil Hrabal.
“You don't 'love' people when they are 'nice'. Don't you see that's the same as saying 'what's in it for me'?” 10 likes
“You're the measure of my true decline. Your home isn't in the underworld, you live in the back room of the liquor store. My eternally hung-over angel, my Satan crawling like an amber worm from a bottle of Zoladkowa Gorzka.” 3 likes
More quotes…