Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

NOBODY LEAVES: Impressions of Poland by Ryszard Kapuscinksi

NOBODY LEAVES: Impressions of Poland by Ryszard Kapuscinksi
02 Jul
2017
Ryszard Kapuściński was a journalist who was dangerously good at his job. Detained 40 times and escaping a death sentence four times, he wrote inflammatory but incandescent dispatches from conflicts across the world

Between foreign assignments he wrote short essays about his homeland. Nobody Leaves is a collection of 17 of these, each a deft vignette about a forgotten corner of the nation. Some create a sordid picture, such as An Advertisement for Toothpaste, where the materialistic town of Pratki ‘dances to the newest, dazzling hits, stocks up on televisions, purchases electric sewing machines and Master Picasso curtains’ – but still hasn’t learnt to brush its teeth. Others are more charming, such as Far Away where he describes how the village of Cisowka built its own train station in order to get a railway: ‘There are few train stops like this. Lovely thick woods begin right next to the track... people come along, sit down in the woods, and wait for the train.’

What they all share, however, is a tension between the old world and the new. Village children dream of moving to the city where they say ‘there are so many cinemas, and people don’t have to do things’. Later in the collection, Kapuściński’s army friends grapple with the anxiety of new Cold War weaponry: ‘In our lack of scientific knowledge we spun unfettered fantasies. Some kind of chemical process, instantaneous and terminal, would take place – something in the form of a blast or an invisible change in the composition of the air, and we would melt and evaporate.’

Such observations often reach out of the countryside and tap into international feelings of the age. It is no wonder he was voted one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century.

Click here to purchase Nobody Leaves: Impressions of Poland by Ryszard Kapuscinksi

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by John Higgs • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £20/£11 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Lewis Dartnell • Bodley Head • £18.99 (hardback)

Books

by Richard Williams • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Jubber • John Murray Press • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Rob Dunn • Basic Books • £22.99 (hardback)

Books

by Edward Davey • Unbound • £9.99 (paperback)

Exhibitions

From July 2019 to February 2020, the Oxford University Natural…

Books

by Stephen Smith • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by David Barrie • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Juliet Blaxland • Sandstone Press • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Bill McKibben • Wildfire • £20 (hardback)

Exhibitions

A new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery flies forward 100…

Exhibitions

From 12 July through to 10 November, the Fondation Cartier…

Reviews

A relaxed podcast, in which actor David Oakes interviews professionals…

Exhibitions

Exploring ideas of identity, heritage and life after trauma, Bahith…

Books

by Alex Rogers • Wildfire • £20 (hardback)

Films

An ‘environmental thriller’ focusing on the lives of campaigners working…

Exhibitions

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is open to visitors…

Films

In this moving, sometimes harrowing film from director Anthony Woodley,…

Films

A brutal, hard-hitting coming-of-age tale that doesn’t hold its punches