Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Trans-Atlantyk” as Want to Read:
Trans-Atlantyk
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Trans-Atlantyk

by
3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,529 ratings  ·  77 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 1953)
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 Trans-Atlantyk, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Trans-Atlantyk

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,529 ratings  ·  77 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Kobe Bryant
Jan 02, 2013 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?
Jaga
Sep 17, 2009 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 nobility. Fu
...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.
Marina
Aug 05, 2012 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 valian
...more
Andrew Bourne
May 07, 2008 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
Vytenis
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
The rhythm, the sound and he flow. These are the sole few reasons why you could consider reading 'Trans-Atlantyk'. Although in the intro the author claims the book is largely written to criticise the drawbacks of the Polish nation, in doing so expression and language seem to play more important a role than the actual story-line. To me this book was a promising facade with contents that failed to fill it up. Perhaps reading it in the original language would make a difference.
Kasia Grabska
Jul 17, 2015 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. Nation
...more
Meeg
Mar 21, 2015 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
Tom
Oct 09, 2013 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.
kasia
Feb 23, 2008 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.
Andrew
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: polish
Like the James Joyce of Poland.
Andrii
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gombrowicz with all his irony attacks the traditional Polish beliefs, customs and stereotypes. Sarcasm of this story is very subtle - not everyone will understand, but still it is worth trying.
In Transp-Atlantyk well-known Polish writer contrasts the role of Father and Son, Old and New, Traditional and Modern. As always Gombrowicz lets for reader to choose his side, though traditional values of Polish society of that time were mocked extremely :D
I also liked the way Gombrowicz explained h
...more
Lia
This novel is an excellent study in the profound sense of displacement an immigrant experiences in their new home: be it temporary or permanent.
The satirical and surreal narrative style complements perfectly the disquieting reality of being ‘a fish out of water’, encapsulating the uncertainty any new arrival is faced with as they struggle to survive both economically and socially while grabbling with the societal rules of their fellow immigrant community’s microcosm within the host country’s ma
...more
Peter Zalmayev
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
FUNNY
Leniw
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish this one.
Found it really annoying although funny at some points.
Linus Johansson
I'm reading comments that this is untranslatable, and I believe them.
Monica Carter
Jul 21, 2009 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 of the transl
...more
paul
Jul 11, 2016 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
Angel 一匹狼
"Trans-Atlantyk: An Alternate Translation" must have been quite a difficult challenge for the translator to bring into English. The original was written in an old-fashioned, redundant and repetitive style, and even if the translator does a great job in bringing this into English, you can feel how hard it must have been for them to do so.

The story is pretty simple. The author (Witold Gombrowicz himself) doesn't want to go back to Poland when the war starts, so he decides to stay in Ar
...more
Lysergius
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
...more
I Watts
Jul 19, 2014 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.
Mary
Sep 06, 2013 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.
Stas
Jun 17, 2011 marked it as to-read
I am dizzied and dazzled by this. Truly an event in my reading history.
Aleš
Nov 05, 2011 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.
Tomek
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is another one of Gombrowiczz's novels that plays with tradition of writing and stereotypes of performing identities (such as national, sexual, itd). Funny, smart and short.
Jesse
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: them, him
How could it have taken me so long to read a 120 page book? At times it was kind of exasperating, at times uproarious. I liked it best when I was reading it aloud to a friend.
Smarta
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A classical masterpiece. Difficult and challenging. However I believe it is best to be read in an original language.
Djani Pervan
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
hard to read at start (translated version at least) crazy and weird and funny
Tony
Nov 13, 2007 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...
Kenneth Fairfield
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Barely understood a word of it.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Eighth Day of the Week
  • Tango
  • Szewcy
  • Gnój
  • Sklepy cynamonowe / Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą
  • Kartoteka
  • Madame
  • Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli
  • The Polish Complex
  • Gra na wielu bębenkach: 19 opowiadań
  • Dziennik 1954
  • The Doll
  • The Wedding
  • Inny świat
  • Ziemia obiecana
  • Zdążyć przed Panem Bogiem
  • Lokomotywa
  • Medaliony
See similar books…
599 followers
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
“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
“Atunci mi-a venit să cad în genunchi! N-am căzut însă, ci doar am început să Hulesc încet și să Blestem zdravăn, dar numai pentru mine: - Duceți-vă, Compatrioți, la Poporul vostru! Duceți-vă la Poporul vostru sfânt și poate Blestemat! Duceți-vă la creatura acelui sf. Întunecat, care de veacuri tot crapă, și nu poate crăpa! Duceți-vă la Minunația aceea a voastră sf., blestemată de toată Natura, care se tot naște și tot Nenăscută rămâne! Duceți-vă, duceți-vă să nu vă lase nici să Trăiți, nici să Crăpați, ci să vă țină întotdeauna între Ființă și Neființă. Duceți-vă la Molatica voastră sf., să vă Moleșească în continuare. Vasul s-a întors de-a curmezișul și a plecat, iar eu tot mai zic: -Duceți-vă la Dementul, la Nebunul vostru sf. Ah, poate Blestemat, să vă Chinuiască, să vă Căznească, cu salturile, cu nebuniile lui, să vă umple de sânge, cu Răcnetul lui să vă Răcnească, să vă urle, cu Cazna să vă căznească, Copiii voștri, nevestele, la Moarte, la Pieire, el însuși pierind în pieirea Nebuniei lui să vă Înnebunească! Și, Blestemând așa, am lăsat vasul în urmă și am pornit spre oraș.” 0 likes
More quotes…