comments are closed on this review, click here for worldwidereview home

'Possessed' by Witold Gombrowicz

From: Eva
Category: Books
Date: 27 October 2004


At 7pm last night I picked up Witold Gombrowicz's 'Possessed - The Secret of Myslotch', and I was barely able to put it down until I finished it at 4am, nine hours later (I then spent a further half hour re-reading the beginning and wishing there were more prefaces, translator's notes etc). It's a brilliant gothic novel, from a writer who really knows how to create tension, my heart was jumping beats at the end almost every paragraph. After finishing the novel I discovered that it had originally been published in serial form in 1938, in a Warsaw evening paper, and this explains the cliff-hangers at the end of every chapter that make it fresh and compelling. I can't give too much away but the story starts when a young tennis coach arrives in a Polish country house to play with a determined young woman. Eerily all the characters note a striking similarity in their temperaments and mannerisms. The influence they have on each other drives them to extremes, that often result in semi-evil deeds. They are also both attracted and repulsed by a nearby haunted castle, Myslotch, wherein lives a mad prince. What goes on in the Old Kitchen?

Gombrowicz's style is suburb and he uses the now traditional gothic elements masterly, also creating erotic tensions which remind of Bataille, though without ever being sexually explicit.

comments are closed on this review, click here for worldwidereview home