Rondo by Kazimierz Brandys
Translated by Jaroslaw Anders
Kazimierz Brandys was a polish writer ,he is little known but a multiple prize winner and also a member of the order of fine arts in France .He was a graduate in law and made his writing debut in 1935 .his first novel published in 1946 .This considered one of his best was published in 1982 at that time he live in france where he lived until his death in 2000.
So rondo what is it well it is a man life the man in question is called Tom ,it is his story he has written after reading an account of the RONDO organisation a resistance movement in Poland written by a professor Janota in a historic magazine .Tom was a member of , but the question as the books unwinds is what is real and what is false in this account of Rondo and toms retelling of his remembrance of events ? .Tom past and present mix as we jump from the now of Warsaw in the 70’s a city just starting to become wealthy and changing .Then to the past of pre war and wartime Warsaw .So how did he get involved with the RONDO (Tom called it after a Chopin piece ) well this is how it started as he imagined it he was dating a girl Tola he made it up to impress her (haven’t we all bent the truth a little to impress a girl /boy ) but as the war progresses his peers start to build the imagine resistance movement into a real one because of the own selfish motives and thus fiction becomes fact .So tom is he the illegitimate son of a famous polish pre war leader ? This book very much in the allegorical vein of literature a display of what may have happen if person x had done this and persons a ,b and c had joined in rather than a truthful account of events .Then there is Tola an almost saintly women in Tom’s eye ,he is one of these men brought up to put the women in his life on the pedestal no matter what they do to them .
Professor W.Janota claims that (1) Rondo was founded in 1942 ;(2) it was established by people smuggled secretly from London;(3) its activities included extensive infiltration of the Wehrmacht and SS circles as well as surveillance of German strategic objectives ..
Tom read this and through that find out what happen for real or maybe for real .
So this is a mix of spy ,romance ,surreal ,memoir and allegory fiction ,all in one package ,I suppose the nearest book in English maybe is William Boyd’s Any human heart their is something of similar in Logan and Tom ,Logan is a man who ends up caught up in major events by accident rather like Tom has in Rondo and also Logan maybe extends the truth at times like Tom as well .But in the wider sense outside fiction ,he is a Walter Mitty the film character carried into a wider story of the second world war in Poland ,also rather like Clifton James the man who played a double of Monty to fool the Germans in the war and he played himself in the film where he was portrayed as a man who got carried along by events after he initially played Monty for a joke in a stage show ,there is a similar feel in Toms story here he started of with a small idea and then got carried along into a bigger idea .I loved this books take one world war two in Poland ,Tom was a great character to follow through these events .The book is published by Europa editions and is part of there first group of books to be published in the UK .