Permission: A Novel by S. D. Chrostowska

By S. D. Chrostowska

Including nameless email messages despatched through the writer to an acclaimed visible artist over the process a yr, Permission is the checklist of an scan: an try to forge a reference to a stranger in the course of the writing of a publication, and therefore a look for fellowship in solitude, in addition to an affidavit to the keeping apart results and inventive probabilities of the electronic age.

With reveries touching upon the insipid panorama of post-Cold warfare Poland, the elongated shadows of the Holocaust, and the narrator's "safe passage" to the USA, Permission not just updates the "epistolary novel" for our time by way of embracing the permissiveness we go along with electronic verbal exchange, it opens up a brand new literary frontier.

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Although he had pretensions to the so-called artistic lifestyle, these, however, manifested themselves (more often than not) in polite and orthodox ways: gawky gestures, deliberately dated and neat attire, unstudied mannerisms and pundit impersonations which came easily to him, given he was the scion of intellectuals, moreover of German extraction. At that time I myself had no pretensions to creativity and was on a patently misanthropic course, swept up by the available forms of counter-cultural rebellion.

What struck me upon reading the notes again was that this initial recording, which I resolved never to tamper with so as to leave open the possibility of unearthing the true significance in the future, was that each dream could be construed as a reference to the Shoah without any pieces of the dream-puzzle left unused. In other words, once I alighted on and accepted such a reading, everything about the dreams appeared to support it. Not only did each dream 61 invite such an interpretation, but the entire dream-suite manifested the inexorable logic of the Shoah.

But there was still more to the story. It begins, in fact, with a kind of dossier on the deceased. Stefan, for that is his name, is no reprobate. He is a sensitive, solitary soul with a drinking habit. He bonds with his pet turtles—among them Pelodiscus sinensis, whose eyes express unmistakably human sentiments—and is very fond of the lush flora taking over his rooms. We are given a description of this commodious family house, its degradation years in the making. But why paraphrase juvenilia, written long ago and advisably forgotten?

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