Review of Bakalar’s Madame Mephisto on Literalab

‘Impressive debut novel…Madame Mephisto touches on the worlds of international crime, corporate culture, globalization and immigration and deftly manages to explore what has and hasn’t changed in Polish social mores since the end of communism through a vivid portrait of Magda’s family.’ Literalab

More praise for A.M. Bakalar’s Madame Mephisto:

‘At the start you are not sure who you are. I liked this about the book as it was fun trying to work it out…Magda makes some great observations about Britain and is pretty scathing about the Polish and their culture. The most enjoyable part of the book, for me, were her trips back home.’ Guardian

‘If you are looking for likeable characters in your novels, you’re best to skip Madame Mephisto, because Magda, the narrator, is not one of them…How did a country who gave the world John Paul II and all that is good and true managed to produce this she-devil of an offspring? Magda is a sum of all Polish grievances and frustrations and an interesting study on self-destruction.’ Book Snob

Madame Mephisto shows how both totalitarianism and theocracy oppress women and infantilize men. Bakalar, who settled in England in 2004, writes in English and captures how isolating London can be for newcomers.’ Max Liu, The Times Literary Supplement

‘A very powerful account of the liberating and sometimes bitter experience of living abroad…The first piece of fiction that I know of that in a playful and ironic way talks about climbing up the ladder of the Eastern European dream lived abroad. Hopefully only a start of a larger writing movement.’ Karolina Golimowska, CaféBabelBerlin

‘Mother Poland is comprehensively slammed in A.M. Bakalar’s punchy debut, a tale of Polish migration that supplements its core of rebellion and noncomformity with a layer of melodrama … Mouthpiece of new Poland or amoral ballbreaker? … what’s most striking about the book is its vigour and the curious charisma of Magda herself. Balakar has created a contemporary anti-heroine with a heart of pure titanium, the bad girl who eventually comes if not exactly good, then good–ish.’ Elsbeth Lindner, Bookoxygen

‘A.M. Bakalar created a memorable anti-heroine, worth adapting to the big screen … And as the story develops, we are also witnessing a life confession that will end in an extraordinary and moving way. In a nutshell, thumbs up to A.M Bakalar for a fantastic first novel!’ Jimena Gorraez, Literati