Illegal Liaisons (excerpt)

Illegal Liaisons (excerpt)
Excerpt from Illegal Liaisons by Grażyna Plebanek translated by Danusia Stok.
Photo by Francesco Rachello

Photo by Francesco Rachello

Jonathan’s thoughts rarely turned to the first time he had met Andrea. The moments in which they later immersed themselves occupied more space in his memory; and they had leapt into something more intense—they insisted—than ever before.

Jonathan’s memory turned out to be a clever device that didn’t prompt comparisons, at least not when he was with Andrea. She was his goal, his oxygen and his delicacy; he mounted her, lived by her breath, eagerly licked the nipples adorning the olive-skinned spheres of her breasts. Images of the bodies of women with whom he had been in the past, including the pale recollection of his wife’s body, lay forgotten at the bot­tom of his memory.

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Grażyna Plebanek was born in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of highly acclaimed and bestselling novels. Her novel Illegal Liaisons (Nielegalne związki, 2010) was sold in 52,000 copies in Poland and wa translated into English. Illegal Liaisons was published in the U.S. in 2013 by New Europe Books, distributed by Random House. She is a columnist of the prestigious weekly “Polityka”, as well as the monthly supplement of Poland’s biggest daily Gazeta Wyborcza, and the “Trends” magazine. In 2011 Plebanek was awarded the Literary Prize Zlote Sowy for her contribution to promoting Poland abroad. Plebanek is among a group of international artists whose portraits will be exhibited in Brussels Gare del’Ouest for the next 10 years. She lives in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, Ann Morgan listed "Illegal Liaisons" as the Polish novel worth reading in her collection of the world's literary works (TED Talk: My year reading a book from every country in the world) Plebanek’s new novel “Madame Fury” will be published this summer. It tells the story of how the main character is forced to navigate the complexities of identity for people living in two or more cultures. It is about manipulation and racism.

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