Bruno Schulz’s Suicide - Asymptote
In the first chapter, the narrator and his good friend, Havran, set out on a rather typical journey for young Poles—eastwards to Ukraine. More specifically: to the western area of Ukraine that was part of Polish territory for many centuries, known in former eras as “Galicia.” Fueled by cultural nostalgia, many Polish people are drawn there to seek out vestiges of Polish history or traces of their own families. A popular destination is the now-Ukrainian town of Drohobych, where people go in order to pay homage to one of Poland’s greatest writers—Bruno Schulz. In this book, which is written in a gonzo-like style that blurs boundaries between travel reportage and fiction, Szczerek reveals that this type of journey has acquired the aura of a Kerouac-style road trip among young Poles in search of adventure. Just like the beatniks, the narrator and his sidekick Havran are constantly intoxicated. Their alcohol of choice is “Vigor,” a strong “balsam” that can be bought over the counter in Ukrainian pharmacies.