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ISBN 978-0-9557285-3-2
First published November 2007; 158pp
paperback; 198 x 168 mm

£7.99
click here to read a pdf excerpt.
Stefan Grabinski was born in 1887 in the eastern provinces of Poland (now part of Ukraine), studied literature in Lvov and began writing in 1906. He achieved popular success with The Demon in Motion (1920), stories linked by the motifs of demonology and trains and characteristic of his abiding concern with the spritual and the scientific. He died in 1936.

Wiesiek Powaga’s several translations include Andrzej Bursa’s Killing Auntie for CBe.
 
Stefan Grabinski  In Sarah's House
translated by Wiesiek Powaga
 
Two young chimney sweeps fail to emerge from the stack of an old brewery. Changing his lodgings to escape a nameless anxiety, a man only aggravates his affliction. A doctor investigates a case of all-consuming sexual obsession. On a disused stretch of track, a retired railwayman cultivates a yearning towards death. An infection acquired during what appears to be a troubling dream leaves its victim hideously scarred.

Set among the villages and small towns of Poland around the start of the 20th century, these tales of the supernatural by Stefan Grabinski (1887–1936) are written with an abounding lyricism that accentuates their elements of horror and fantasy.

‘Discovering a new writer is always a thrill: you are suddenly acquainted with someone you didn’t realise you had wanted to know. CB editions have just issued a selection of the strange supernatural stories of the Polish writer Stefan Grabinski, translated by Wiesiek Powaga. Critics have labelled him “the Polish Poe” for obvious reasons but, hard as it is to judge the quality of prose translated from another language, I wonder if there isn’t a touch of Oscar Wilde in his sensual language. These stories, all with a bizarre twist, are beautifully realised and attentive to detail and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.’
      – Nicholas Murray, The Bibliographic Blogger

‘Grabinski suffered from tuberculosis all his relatively short life, and a heightened awareness of the corporeal and sensory is everywhere present in the stories selected here . . . In the opening story “White Virak”, children squeeze up sooty, claustrophobic chimneys, and people break out in “a peculiar rash, which covered our bodies with large white spots like eruptions”. Such is the heightened awareness of the characters that the sensory becomes neatly muddled with the extra-sensory, which is where the Poe comparisons come in. When the narrator of “The Grey Room” experiences disturbing visions, he suggests that they are simply dreams carried through into waking hours, normally blocked by “the misleading senses” and “the intellect in its arrogance
. . . For the stars exist in daytime too, though outshone by the mighty rays of he sun.” (I was reminded a little of Maupassant’s superlative The Horla.)’
      – John Self, Asylum