Review of Plebanek’s Illegal Liaisons on For Books’ Sake
‘This book remains a fascinating look at the generation that are living the reality of Poland’s new role at the heart of Europe. It is also a brave examination of changing gender roles, and suggests that the old order is, at least among the ex-pat elite, very much on the way out. Jonathan is a house-husband, and his greatest happiness comes from his children, while the female characters reject feminine conventions.’ Claire Strickett, For Books’ Sake
More praise for Grażyna Plebanek’s Illegal Liaisons:
‘Illegal Liaisons is an excellent example of great European literature that otherwise wouldn’t have got a chance to be known in the UK – thanks to Stork Press, Plebanek now has legions of British fans, and rightly so.’ Voted Best Book of 2012 by These Little Words
‘Though the sensual scenes between the unfaithful couple are thrilling and explicit, offering some of the most pleasurable moments in the novel, Illegal Liaisons is much more than a story of sex amongst today’s Euro-elites. Moving beyond passion, the novel is in fact a smart study of identity in the ‘new Europe’, examining the rapidly evolving topography of modern society, be it the deconstruction of traditional gender roles, the changing nature of personal relationships, or the role of national consciousness in an increasingly Diasporic continent…unique among translated fiction currently available.’ Nudge
‘Intense and fascinating novel that questions the norm of family life as well the necessity of monogamy and the morality of sex…Plebanek’s writing is unembarrassed about sex and emotions, and is charged with a deep sadness as well as eroticism…thoughtful, unashamed, brave, and ultimately beautiful.’ These Little Words
‘Powerfully erotic and intelligent, this novel, set in the political capital of the new Europe, shows risk-taking, glossy young professionals changing lanes at top speed between sex, parenthood and work as they race after love and meaning.’ Maggie Gee
‘Plebanek is exceptionally good at depicting the dynamics of relationships… the author captures the minute shifts in the way we relate to one another that force us to renegotiate our place in the world every day, if not every hour. Much of the interaction described in the novel is so natural and well-observed that reading the book often feels more like eavesdropping on a private conversation than consuming a published work… the book is, by and large, a very good read. As a chronicler of domestic dynamics, Plebanek is up there with the best of them. This, the first of her novels to be translated into English, deserves to do well.’ A Year of Reading the World
‘A novel of deception, where all the main characters are playing games, at once trying escape their pasts but also continually being coloured by rootlessness and disruption.’ To Be Read
Read an interview with Grażyna Plebanek.
Read Danusia Stok’s reflections on translating Illegal Liaisons.
Grażyna Plebanek’s Illegal Liaisons was published on 15 October.
Buy the book on Amazon.