Michelle Granas: Anything Can Happen {No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop}

  • Sunday, May 19, 2013


Zaremba or the Love and the Rule of Law
by Michelle Granas
Amazon.com: Paperback | Kindle Edition
Anything Can Happen
by Michelle Granas


It has often seemed to me that Poland, where I live now, is a country where 'anything can happen'. But perhaps this is simply the experience of all immigrants, all expats, in countries where they are outsiders, looking on at the unexpected activities of the natives with bemusement or astonishment. (There was a charming memoir written in the 1940s by George Papashvily, a Georgian immigrant to America. It was entitled just that: Anything Can Happen.)

Yet sometimes it seems enough to step out of the house in Warsaw to be confronted with the slightly surreal image. I think of being in a city park and watching a man, slightly tipsy, plunge waist-deep into the icy waters of a dark grey lake to perform a belligerent ballet with a large and angry swan. Why? Because he felt like it, I imagine. Who knows? We walked on.

Another time, a stroll across the empty expanse by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was interrupted by the hurried arrival of a fleet of government cars. They circled and stopped with a screech of tires and out jumped Poland's first female prime minister. (And it is not easy to spring from a limo in a tight, short skirt and heels!) Another car roared up and slammed on its brakes. Out leapt Prince Charles, very red in the face. Why red? Was it sunburn or embarrassment?

What terrible gaffe had been committed by whom? Remembering that it is rude to stare, we walked on. However, if anything can happen in a country, both in the sense of very minor individual incidents and on the broader scale of national life, there are certainly things that one would like to see happen and those that one would rather not witness. Among the positive occurrences that I have had the pleasure of observing during my time in Poland have been the country's rapid economic development and its conversion from a totalitarian political system into a democracy whose citizens are tolerably well assured of their human rights. Still, no system is immutable; it doesn't do to be complacent.

I began writing Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law, some five or six years ago, when the stability and gains of the previous dozen years appeared to be teetering on the brink of a dangerous backward slide. Not long before, the CIA had a black site in the country to aid its rendition program, and such practices are completely destructive of human rights. This situation forms the backdrop for my novel. Cordelia and Zaremba, my hero and heroine, would, like most people, have preferred to be left alone to get on with their own affairs, to work out their relationship; they would naturally have preferred not to be subject to arbitrary powers and persecutions. Cordelia's father would certainly have liked to be left undisturbed among his piles of books and his Shakespeare quotes. Government policies should not come creeping in the windows of a dilapidated villa on a leafy street to disrupt the lives of ordinary people. But when 'anything can happen', it can happen to anyone. That, I think, is something we in the West, in the US and Canada, tend to forget. We are too liable to assume, when we read that our country is conducting or abetting covert operations somewhere in the world, that the effects will never be felt close to home, by Westerners, but only by Others.

About Michelle Granas

Michelle Granas was born in Alaska, but currently divides her time between Corvallis, Oregon and Warsaw, Poland. She has degrees in philosophy and comparative literature, but now works as a translator. Over the past dozen years she has translated for many of Poland's major politicians, academicians, and writers.

Zaremba or the Love and the Rule of Law
by Michelle Granas
Amazon.com: Paperback | Kindle Edition
Synopsis: In Warsaw, a shy and high-minded polio victim lives a life of seclusion caring for her odd family until a chance encounter plunges her into the intrigues of dirty politics. Zaremba, a wealthy businessman, is about to be arrested on trumped-up charges and only she can save him. Swept along by events, Cordelia finds her feelings increasingly involved with a stranger for whom she is both rescuer and victim. When Zaremba disappears, Cordelia is painfully uncertain if she has been abandoned and must overcome surveillance, corruption, the media, and mounting humiliations and difficulties to learn the truth. Although set in Poland, this is a story that could happen anywhere, as young democracies struggle against the temptations of covert operations and older democracies sometimes lead them astray.
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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the opportunity!
    Maria
    farmaki@live.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you very much :) a nice way to begin a rainy yukky day! <3

    ReplyDelete

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