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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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Madame tells the story of a self-absorbed Polish teenager as he pursues intellectual maturity, and the woman of his dreams, his French teacher ‘Madame’, in the communist-dominated Warsaw of the early s. Libera paces his exuberant young hero’s fulminations, fantasies and discoveries beautifully, building a remarkably subtle characterisation of a free mind in a repressive culture.

This is one of those rare novels which reminds us why we love books. A consummate literary entertainment. Antooni is skilfully written and the subtle backdrop of communism is interesting and convincing.

The List Essentially a vision of a life-changing teenage crush, Libera’s debut novel. The Scotsman This is an old story made fresh with an excellent evocation of a spirit-crushing school system – a microcosm of communist rule under which the layers of life are corrupted by concessions, compromises and deceptions. Born inis a literary critic, translator and theatre director, noted especially for his collaborative work with Samuel Beckett. Madame is his first novel. He lives in Warsaw, Poland.

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Customers who bought this item also bought. The Illegal Gardener Greek Village. Review Madame is skilfully written and the subtle backdrop of communism is interesting and convincing.

Canongate Books May 24, Language: I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 9 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. In this exceptionally good novel Libera uses the infatuation of a precocious schoolboy with his French teacher to contrast the drab and corrupt culture of post war Poland with the sparkle of French literary and artistic society.

Antoni Libera

I had read this several years ago and found it to be brilliant, amusing and a “great read” I decided to order a copy so I might reread it leisurely. The “love story” is a pretext to tell so many things Madame, a late debut of the university antonu Antoni Libera, who specializes in Beckett, is an universally prized novel.


I liked it too hence four starsbut some criticism is nevertheless necessary, because it is not a perfect book. The action takes place in Warsaw of the ‘s. The narrator is a high school student, a remarkably erudite boy from a good family alter ego of the author who, as nearly all the students in his year, is in love with a school headmistress and teacher of French, the mysterious “Madame”.

Because of his obsessive nature, and urge to know as much about her, as he possibly can, the narrator sets off on the methodical quest to reveal Madame’s past. He discovers the family drama spanning several decades, the example of people’s fate decided by political circumstances.

The language of the novel is great, very rich, evoking images in the reader’s llbera the book is full of interesting characters and the wanderings of the narrator around Warsaw evoke nostalgia. The realism of these times in communist Poland is also remarkable. I was left with the feeling of re-reading it again from the beginning and purchased the English translation for my husband.

In translation it was equally engrossing. There are, despite my general good impression, some faults for which Libera was criticized by many readers. Two things in particular come to my mind now: I am not sure if it was technically meant to show the distance of the author from the narrator and, at the same time, his youth.

Secondly, the book reads as if it were written with a plan, a goal to reach the foreign reader. It is sometimes too straightforward and the author takes pains, elaborately explaining things or events, which seemed obvious to me However, I learned a lot from the part describing the war in Spain in the ‘s! Some say that critics should not become authors I think in case of Libera it is not that bad, although his background seems to be a bit of a hindrance.

Nevertheless, although not a complete victory, “Madame”, like its heroine, attracts attention till the end. The narrator of Antoni Libera’s “Madame” is a precocious teenager indeed. He speaks fluent French, can play the piano, recites scads of poetry from memory, is conversant with the works of Shakespeare, Racine, Conrad, Thomas Mann, and Schopenhauer.

Madame – Antoni Libera

He is quite an actor who sees life as a chess game full of strategems by opposing forces. Most of all he, born under the sign of Virgo, is madly in love with his French teacher who is an Aquarius and whose name bears the title of the novel.


The central focus of the book concerns the narrator’s probing into the life of madame and coming to terms with his mad passion for her. In delving into the French teacher’s life, the love-struck teenager and the reader are taken on a voyage that includes knowledge about the Spanish Civil War of the s, Polish repression of artists, Antonu work, Racine’s Phedre, relations between Franch and Poland during the Cold War, and discussions of the relationship between language and reality.

This all makes for an exceptionally good reading experience, despite the fact that the narrator appears to mirror the knowledge of the author who is a literary madake himself rather than that of himself. Though “Madame” strains the reader’s credulity at times, it can be described as a tour de force written by an author who is cultured, informative, and entertaining. It is a romance that will certainly broaden a reader’s literary horizons. This novel liberq me to growing up in Communist Poland where the big rebellions had been suppressed.

The author, a teenager, has his own personal revolts against orthodoxy from above. He meets those who inwardly rebel, and those who amtoni been punished for failure to conform. The novel is light, but in its insight into a closed, monotheistic polity it shows how the influence of jazz, and the promise of or withholding of travel to the West shapes events. Mmadame liked the book: Antono all 9 reviews.

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