Cover Image: I’d Like to Say Sorry, but There’s No One to Say Sorry To

I’d Like to Say Sorry, but There’s No One to Say Sorry To

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

tysm to netgalley and the new press for this advance copy for review. 

i’m going with 3.5 stars — i think some of what trips me up is due to the translation, i can imagine from my extremely limited knowledge of poland and polish that we lose some of the brevity of the work as it’s translated. 

i liked some of the stories a lot, and for that reason i’m super curious to read his nonfiction, because i think undertaking history and oral history of jews and jewishness before, during, and after wwII in poland is fascinating, i just think some of the stories weren’t quite there for me. 

this is a book specifically for my dad who is obsessed with poland because he lived there.
Was this review helpful?
An incredibly deep insight into the collective trauma following the holocaust and later anti-semitic attitudes in Poland. This book is written in alternating 1st person narrative and 2nd person narrative, which works well in conveying the overall sentiment of each short story. 
The short stories in this novel were quite brief but always drove home compelling emotion in an almost "indifferent" manner. By that I mean the stories were devastating because the author used flowery, descriptive language and prose but because the text was so real and raw in it's content. It showed the pain and loss but also everyday normalities of living in a world where your identity defines you. The grief and anger that came in the text where the heritage or history of the narrator is lost, forgotten or never discussed really defines this book as an important voice in the literature. Not due to it's historical facts and detail but due to it's human voice.
Was this review helpful?
Outstanding. Vivid, funny, infuriating, thoughtful, clever, heartbreaking - I can't get over how much is packed into so few words in each story. They are more like vignettes than short stories: a scene from a life, but maybe the scene is decades - or generations - long. Unfortunately that means that the temptation is to gulp the whole collection down in a couple of hours, and I think it could stand for a much slower reading, which I fully intend to give it.

The Translator's Note reveals that the author is a photographer, and that brings new meaning to the collection: the stories are photographs, a snapshot of a person (or a family, or a community, or a country), everything revealed almost instantly in a flash of light. 

My thanks to New Press and NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I’d like to Say Sorry, But There’s No One To Say Sorry To by Mikolaj Grynberg

Originally in Polish this book has been translated into English by Sean Gasper Bye.

I’d like to say sorry, but there’s no one to say sorry to is a collection of short stories translated from polish into English for the first time. They touch on topics such as being Jewish after the war, World War II, The holocaust, emigration, life in Poland after the war and many more.

This book may be only 160 pages and each short story is only about 3 or 4 pages long you can not read this book in one sitting. Each story is so deep and full of emotions you have to reflect on each one after you have read it. Some stories are so touching you can not see the page to read until your tears are dry.

I enjoyed this book very much and hope more of Mikolaj Grynberg’s books are translated into English so that we can read them.

I would like to thank Net Galley and The New Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
Holocaust fiction often focuses on the event itself. Or sometimes the focus is on dual narratives tracing how the past informs some mystery in the present. Grynberg’s focus is on the very intense present in Poland, but it is a present where Polish and Jewish survivors are haunted in very specific ways. Sometimes it is failure to confront the enormity of the Holocaust, or a simple gesture that wasn’t rendered, an absence of empathy, rage at the victims for becoming victimized or a vague remembrance of some specific interaction with a Jewish family. Particularly stressful for Polish survivors is when relatives of those killed want information or to visit sites where their murdered family members lived. Attitudes indicate – can’t we just leave it alone? Other times, a hidden Jewish ancestry is revealed, to the shock of the modern Polish family. Ironically, some Polish survivors seem to hunger for the culture that was, but not the people who brought it. Grynberg has their number and chronicles all of it. These short stories are powerful snapshots of people who may not have given serious thought to the past, while failing to acknowledge current anti-Semitism on the rise. Recommended. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this title.
Was this review helpful?
Human suffering and cruelty Man is able to inflict on others are filtered through the author's tender eye and presented in a delicate though sharp prose; Grynberg's collection and the short stories it contains are intriguing, engaging and important.
Was this review helpful?
wow. so good. Grynberg's monologue-eque short stories give glimpses at hidden family histories, lingering resentments, realities of "the Jewish experience" in contemporary Poland, particularly post-Holocaust generations. the stories keep a great clip and evoke the perfect dark-funny tone, I couldn't stop reading. I was also interested to read at the end that the author is known for his non-fiction work presenting oral histories of the children of Holocaust survivors (Oskarżam Auschwitz. Opowieści rodzinne). Ethnographic work isn't necessary for writing good fiction, of course, but does lend some at least imagined authenticity, and these monologues really did feel real or at least conceivable, even with their quick and winky quality. I really enjoyed this collection, it does feel like a perfect little nod to ongoing antisemitism in post-war / contemporary Poland, in a period neglected in English-language lit. would definitely recommend.
Was this review helpful?
When I first read the title of this book, I was hooked. Then I read the description and realized this book may be perfect. Then I read it and discovered it is. 
I'd Like to Say Sorry, But There's No One to Say Sorry To is a beautiful collection of short stories, told through first-person interviews. The writing flows and manages to convey so much meaning with so few words and does so in a way that you won't easily forget. As a Jew myself, this collection was especially difficult to get through, simply because of the subject matter it deals with. Many of the small details and aspects were poignantly rendered. I can guarantee you that you'll finish this book with a much greater understanding of the Jewish experience, historically and presently, than you began with. I would recommend this if you're a lover of literature or interested in the lives of Jews. 
My new favourite book.
Was this review helpful?
In this collection of short stories, Grynberg keenly draws from the intersection of Polish with Jewish social and cultural experiences. Each tale is a unique platform to such social realities. From people who died, decades after the end of World War II, terrorized and still hiding their faith, to those forced to leave Poland. What captivates the most about this book is how it uses the holocaust as a historical means instead of as an end; it is brought up when necessary and it is essential to the narratives, of course, but these are about the people, the real people and their families who suffer even today the devasting consequences of the violence and injustice they had to endure back in the 1930-40s. 
Truth to be told, we need more of this kind of works. A lot of the outcomes of war, terror, violence, issues such as racism or xenophobia are simply left behind in what seems like an ocean of politics and private interests. Books and stories like I’d Like to Say Sorry, But There’s No One to Say Sorry To: Stories, are becoming increasingly relevant as they direct our attention to the human side of history.
Was this review helpful?