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His Current Woman [Paperback]

Jerzy Pilch , Bill Johnston
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 17 2002 Hydra Books
Pawel Kohoutek, veterinarian and womanizer, looks out the window one morning to see his mistress approaching his house. That's bad. She is hauling her suitcase (containing her books) and her backpack (containing everything else she owns). That's worse. So Kohoutek does the only thing he can: He hides his current woman in the attic of the family slaughterhouse. Farce ensues as Kohoutek attempts to hide the woman from his eccentric family, their lodgers, and various offbeat visitors. A best-seller in Jerzy Pilch's native Poland, His Current Woman is an enjoyable literary send-up of what often passes for love.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Don't let the awkward title of this comic novel put you off what lies within is a delectable tale of adultery, family life and regret. In November 1990, veterinarian Pawel Kohoutek looks out the window of his house to see his "current woman" Justyna dragging a suitcase across the lawn. She intends to move in, and Kohoutek can think of no better plan than to install her in his attic. Thus begins a farce of concealment, as Kohoutek tries to prevent his wife and various relatives living with him from learning of her presence. Although the story is occasionally lent an overburnished, cinematic glow, there are many rhapsodic moments of great poetry, especially as the novel progresses to its balanced and probably just conclusion. Pilch, who writes eloquent and witty prose beautifully rendered into English by Johnston's translation, brings his confused characters' interior lives to the fore in great, flowing, humorous monologues. Kohoutek, a devout and completely irrepressible adulterer, is an intriguing protagonist; his mistress is just as uncontrollable, constantly threatening to make herself known to Kohoutek's strong-willed and intolerant wife. There is, to be sure, a strain of misogyny running throughout the book, but it is usually balanced by the jaundiced eye Pilch turns on humanity in general. Readers who dip into this brief, light tale of the consequences of indiscretion will not be sorry unlike the book's protagonist.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this lighthearted novel, a best seller in Pilch's native Poland, veterinarian Pawel Kohoutek is a notorious womanizer, constantly seeking women and pouring out his heart to them. Finally, one of them (named Justyna) takes him seriously and shows up with her belongings at his home in the country. Not knowing what else to do, Kohoutek hides her in the attic of an abandoned slaughterhouse and attempts to keep her presence secret from his beautiful, educated wife, their child, his parents, his grandmother, and several lodgers. He sneaks food and drink out to the attic room but has a hard time keeping "his current woman" hidden. Frustrated with the situation, Justyna leaves the attic and announces herself to the family by pressing her nose to the dining room window at dinner time. The grandfather and his wife each try to figure out Kohoutek's behavior and resolve the situation. Comical and greatly entertaining, Pilch's first novel to be translated into English is recommended for all libraries. Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure of What It Is May 3 2004
By A. Ross
Format:Paperback
I have to confess that this much-acclaimed novella, published in Poland in 1995, really didn't come together in any meaningful way for me. The story follows Pawel Kohoutek, a middle-aged veterinarian in the Cieszyn region who is notable for his infidelity to his wife. The book starts with his looking out the window of his houseówhere he lives with wife, daughter, and a whole host of extended family and hangers-onóto see the titular character striding across the lawn with all her worldly possessions. The remainder of the book concerns his efforts to hide this mistress in a crumbling slaughterhouse adjacent to the house, and conceal her existence from his family. Mixed in with these farcical, Fawlty Towersesque escapades (would that they were that funny) are assorted recollections and partial glimpses into what makes him tick. As even he admits he is a boring, totally run-of-the-mill philanderer, there's not a whole lot to take away from these examinations. There is a certain wit and playfulness to it all, but one could imagine it working better as a film than it reads on the page. Ultimately, it's hard to know what to make of the book. Is it a whimsical look at a funny little fellow and his predicament? Is it a telling commentary on the Cieszyn region of Poland (many allusions are made to the Lutheranism found there, but I have no idea what to make of it). Or perhaps, since it is set in 1990, it's some kind of allegory about the Iron Curtain? It's neither witty enough to hold up as a comic novel, nor opaque enough to stand out on any other terms. One wonders whether reviewers are perhaps giving it "bonus points" for being Polish?
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure of What It Is May 3 2004
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have to confess that this much-acclaimed novella, published in Poland in 1995, really didn't come together in any meaningful way for me. The story follows Pawel Kohoutek, a middle-aged veterinarian in the Cieszyn region who is notable for his infidelity to his wife. The book starts with his looking out the window of his houseówhere he lives with wife, daughter, and a whole host of extended family and hangers-onóto see the titular character striding across the lawn with all her worldly possessions. The remainder of the book concerns his efforts to hide this mistress in a crumbling slaughterhouse adjacent to the house, and conceal her existence from his family. Mixed in with these farcical, Fawlty Towersesque escapades (would that they were that funny) are assorted recollections and partial glimpses into what makes him tick. As even he admits he is a boring, totally run-of-the-mill philanderer, there's not a whole lot to take away from these examinations. There is a certain wit and playfulness to it all, but one could imagine it working better as a film than it reads on the page. Ultimately, it's hard to know what to make of the book. Is it a whimsical look at a funny little fellow and his predicament? Is it a telling commentary on the Cieszyn region of Poland (many allusions are made to the Lutheranism found there, but I have no idea what to make of it). Or perhaps, since it is set in 1990, it's some kind of allegory about the Iron Curtain? It's neither witty enough to hold up as a comic novel, nor opaque enough to stand out on any other terms. One wonders whether reviewers are perhaps giving it "bonus points" for being Polish?
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