About The Book
Kosinski as Storyteller is a collection of interviews, lectures, and transcriptions of media appearances of the legendary literary figure, Jerzy Kosinski. Compiled by his late widow, Kiki, most are published here for the first time. These texts reveal his extraordinary gifts as a storyteller and bring new insights into the themes in his works, making this strikingly erratic individual more accessible.
After a career clouded by controversy, these pieces provide a glimpse of the man behind the literature. His most famous novel, The Painted Bird (1965), is a dark masterpiece that examines the proximity of terror and savagery to innocence and love. Elie Wiesel called the work “one of the best” in Holocaust literature. In 1982, the praise was overshadowed by fierce accusations of plagiarism from The Village Voice. The paper claimed it was written by another author and the scandal irreversibly tainted Kosinski’s literary career.
Grouped together in three main themes—literary, political, and cultural—the pieces cover different aspects of Kosinski’s eventful life. He expounds on the difficulties of writing under a totalitarian government and the importance of freedom of speech, then describes the English language as a filter that enabled him to write about the disturbing events in his youth and the fine line between fiction and autobiography. He discusses the prominent role sex plays in his writing and life as well as the philosophical importance of violence in his novels. It also includes his controversial statements on Jewish identity.
Kosinski was an insightful commentator and this collection reveals the brilliant storyteller behind the public figure.
“Containing more than 60 documents from Kosinski’s career, the book flows like a conversation . . . thanks to the strength of Kosinski’s voice, [it is] coherent and recognizably whole. . . . even without prior knowledge of his work, Kosinski rewards those willing to engage with his stories.” —Publishers Weekly
“[This] new collection of Jerzy Kosinski’s interviews and speeches reveals an Everyman who worked on his own terms . . . a most welcome body of texts that elucidates a rather mysterious persona.” —Tablet