28 września 2015 Martin Amis – literature versus the dark sides of history

"Strange telegrams from the unconscious” is how Martin Amis described his work during the 26th September meeting at the International Culture Centre in Krakow.

“Strange telegrams from the unconscious” is how Martin Amis described his work during the 26th September meeting at the International Culture Centre in Krakow. The meeting, conducted by critic, essayist and literary philosopher Grzegorz Jankowicz, was a foretaste and introduction to the approaching 7th Conrad Festival.

Martin Amis was visiting Poland on the occasion of the publication of his new book by Dom Wydawniczy Rebis. Zone of Interest, presents the fate of people living in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The characters of the novel come from different worlds, but the main characters are connected by the fact that, to a lesser or greater degree, they work on the side of the Nazi oppressors and experience extreme moral dilemmas. The romance that grows between Golo Thomsen, one of the German Officers, and Hannah Doll, the wife of the camp’s commandant, becomes a somewhat grotesque axis of history, which is told through the voices of Paul Doll and Szmul, a prisoner and a Sonderkommando leader.

The audience, some of whom engaged in an active discussion with the writer, had a unique chance to better understand Amis’ thinking, not only about the fate of the heroes of his book, but also about memory related to the Holocaust and the Nazi ideology. The writer noted that Hitler had always provoked him because of his inexplicability. In answering one of the moderator’s questions, he emphasised the connection between the dilemmas of World War II and the modern drama refugee drama, which puts the European thinking about human dignity to the test.



 Fot. Michał Ramus, www.michalramus.com

The meeting with Amis begins the run of this year’s Conrad Festival, organised with the theme “Against the Current”. The encounter with the fascinating personality of the author of Zone of Interest was a strong prologue to further experiences which we hope will attract equally lively interest.