Madame: A Novel [Antoni Libera, Agnieszka Kolakowska] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In a novel set in Soviet-era Poland, a boy is . A review and a link to other reviews of Madame by Antoni Libera. Madame by Antoni Libera – book cover, description, publication history.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Antpni — Madame by Antoni Libera. Madame by Antoni Libera. The comic “sentimental education” of a schoolboy who falls in love with his French teacher. Madame is an unexpected gem: Our young narrator-hero is suffering through the regulated boredom of libfra school when amtoni is transfixed by a new teacher –an ele The comic “sentimental education” of a schoolboy who falls in love with his French teacher.

Our young narrator-hero is suffering through the regulated boredom of high school when he is transfixed by a new teacher –an elegant “older woman” she is thirty-two who bewitches him ,ibera her glacial beauty and her strict intelligence. He resolves to learn everything he can about her and to win her heart. In a sequence of marvelously funny but sobering maneuvers, he learns much more than he expected to–about politics, Poland, the Spanish Civil War, and his own passion for theater and art–all while his loved one continues to elude him.

Yet without his realizing it, his efforts–largely bookish and literary–to close in on Madame are his first steps to liberation as an artist. Later, during a stint qntoni a teacher-in-training in his old school, he discovers that he himself has become a legendary figure to a new generation of students, and he begins to understand the deceits and blessings of myth, and its redemptive power.

A winning portrait of an artist as a young man, Madame is at the same time a moving, engaging novel about strength and weakness, first love, and the efforts we make to reconcile, in art, the opposing forces of reason and passion. Paperbackpages. Published May 26th by Canongate U. To see liberz your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Madameplease sign up.

Lists with This Book. Jul 19, Agnieszka mdaame it really liked it Shelves: Set in the sixties in Polish People’s Republic and told from the perspective of the high-school graduate Madame is a beautifulmultifacetedlarded with digression on literaturemythology and arttale about growing up.

Not lovey-dovey blabbling but delicate and subtle record of youthmaturing and infatuation. With woman and French culture. Dull and grey reality and on this background our heromavamewell-readsometimes arrogant and looking down on others. Educated musica Set in the sixties in Polish People’s Republic and told from the perspective of the high-school graduate Madame is a beautifulmultifacetedlarded with digression on literature maeame, mythology and arttale about growing up.

Educated musically and fascinated by the theatrehungry for aesthetic and cultural experiences is trying to give to his school life a bit maadame.

Antoni Libera

And a title Madame? Teacher and directorin the pervasive ugliness and mediocrity stands out like multicoloured butterflyso different from others that seems to be someone out of this world. Statuesquewith impeccable mannerscold and inaccessibleexuding an aura of mystery. No wonder that soon becomes a real obsession for studentstheir unsurpassable madamicon and enigma. And she will do a lotreally a lot to get out of the communist paradise… Deliberations on artpoetry, music and on the other side – boredom and crumminess.


After which one wants to whisper as our hero those were the days … Written with beautiful and expressive language.

Nostalgically ironic and ironically nostalgic. View all 22 comments. I came upon the book Madame in a thread on the Chicklit message boards.

It was probably some “desert island maxame kind of list, because there was no discussion of the book, only a mention from a reader that Madame was her favorite Polish-language book and furthermore probably her favorite any-language book. Something about the way she said it made me make note of the title, and I borrowed it from the library last time I went.

From the beginning I was smitten.

Madame by Antoni Libera

The book is intelligent and demandin I came upon the book Madame in a thread on the Chicklit message boards. The book is intelligent and demanding, and yet reads deliciously even in translation.

I can’t tell you the last book I could sit down with on the train and become completely unaware of anything else around me, looking up with surprise to realize I’d already reached my station and needed to get off the train.

Madame was like this every day for the past week. I would stand on the platform after disembarking and finish reading the chapter because I couldn’t bring myself to put antoji down.

The story is told by a precocious high-school student who, like everyone else in his class, becomes fascinated and enamored with the new French teacher, who is beautiful, intelligent, and exotic, but also cold and mysterious.

The narrator, wanting to believe himself better than his classmates, refuses to be openly fawning, but channels his fascination into an in-depth study of the mysterious Madame’s history and life. While he starts innocently and eagerly, more interested in solving a puzzle than in making a romantic conquest, the things he learns about Madame cause him to become more sober and compassionate toward her.

In his pursuit of knowledge, his whole life is shaped by the places he visits and the things he discovers. The story itself is interesting and wonderfully executed, but Libera weaves in threads about chess, literature, language, history, and politics, making the book a nearly nonstop educational experience. Somehow Libera manages to couch his erudition in such delightful language and storytelling that the intelligence of the book is invigorating rather than intimidating.

It is almost certainly the best book I have read this year. I will concede that it has its flaws: Cinq etoiles pour vous, Monsieur Libera, sans hesitation. Apr 22, Vaiva rated it really liked it. The teenage narrator plays a sleuth, trying to discover as much as possible about his French teacher and madame la directriceand while doing so, learns the implication of being an adult in post-Stalinist Poland.

The narrator and the convention in which the story is told might require getting used to. The narrator redefines precociousness — yet I found him scaringly easy to identify with. Interestingly, he seems to be completely uninterested in his parents, and is mentored by their friend, a fine specimen of Polish intelligentsia.

The book touches on subjects such as inner emigration, the survival of intelligentsia in the Communist regime, and determinism to what degree we are formed by the place where we were born. My only real issue with the book, and what makes it less than truly great, is that it is too overwrought. Formulating remarks on Racine, Picasso, Lelouch, Beckett, Hoerderlin allows the narrator to distance himself from his feelings and understand the world of adults, their motives and passions.


The main portion of the novel precedes March http: It is, above all, an exploration of language. The language of students, communist propaganda, post-Stalinist era education, and pre-war intelligentsia. I love how Libera shows how the seeds of our interest and adult achievements are planted when we are in our teens.

I found some scenes unrealistic. If you read Polish, consider reading these reviews http: The protagonist is a very precocious 18 year-old Polish student. He becomes intoxicated with her and makes it his mission to find out everything he can about her and her history. The story is told in the first-person and is surely semi-autobiographical. There are wonderful exchanges between the two in class, often in French but easy enough to follow.

Along the way our protagonist stages and watches plays, sees The protagonist is a very precocious 18 year-old Polish student. Along the way our protagonist stages and watches plays, sees movies, reads books and these are related in sometimes excruciating detail. Not without some reward though.

The young man plays sleuth, too, and this is not always believable.

Madame – Antoni Libera

Through these various tangents, however, we learn a great deal of Polish history and, more importantly for madaje, we get a sense of where we are. This book, perhaps, filled a hole in my knowledge of 20th century Poland. While the author clearly chafed at the Communist system and was embittered by it, I think he nevertheless and perhaps unintentionally painted an academic life that was freer than I imagined.

The occupation of the protagonist’s father is never mentioned, although they clearly are not Party members; yet they seemed to have decent enough living conditions. Yes, travel and exposure to the West were circumscribed. And true also was the fact that teachers and their superintendents had to toe the Libega line. How is that different from American universities? Our protagonist had natoni finesse and finangle to obtain books and other things for his largely autodidactic antoi, but he mostly got them.

Try and get a form from an American governmental clerk without feeling like you are asking them to give blood. Why do we need a Right-to-know law? I’m not defending the Soviet system. I’m only saying a this book paints Polish education in a shade different from what I imagined; and b there are shades here as well if we’d only look. Nov 11, Kamila rated it librea was amazing Shelves: Jul madane, Marion rated it it was amazing.

The narrator is a precocious student, well-versed in French and literature, and the tale of his relationship with his French teacher and headmistress of the high school he attends.

I found it fascinating and have already put it on my “re-read sometime” bucket list. The author has translated Samuel Beckett’s works into Polish. The quibble with the book might be that the narrator’s brilliance is not believable.

I might agree, but was willing to make that leap of faith much like one must be willing to do in reading a thriller. It’s my Polish friend she is a former literature teacher in Poland favorite book, and I maame understand why. Mar 04, Ania rated it it was amazing.

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