‘A long, long time ago’ is how all the children stories in Polish start. It is also the title of my favourite novel set in Kraków written by a foreigner. The author is Brigid Pasulka, an American with Polish roots. She visited Poland for the first time in early ’90s so she witnessed the transformation of Poland from a socialist into a capitalist country. Her experiences of Kraków, as well as the stories of the people she met in the city, served as the basis for her book.

The book tells two parallel stories: one of a few 20-something girls, who try to find their place in Kraków at the time of the transformation, and the other of a family, who abandon their village in the Polish mountains to start a new life in Kraków shortly after the second world war. I prefer the chapters set in the ’90s…

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