Sunday, 23 July 2017

Pokolenia Ikea - book review

Though the series of books by Piotr C., an anonymous (a coincidence?) writer has received some publicity a few years ago when they hit bookshops’ shelves, I somehow missed out on them. Then, in recent months, via links on fejsbuk I have run across the Pokolenie Ikea blog. Posts out there appear infrequently, yet when a note is posted you can be sure it will be lengthy, yet carefully-written, well-thought-out and will hit the nail in the head of the topic it cracks down on.

Reading of the blog has turned my attention into the series of books written by the same author, born in 1976, allegedly a lawyer in one of wicked offices of multinational corporations in Warsaw. So far I have read the first and shortest one Pokolenie Ikea and around one-third of Pokolenie Ikea. Kobiety. The third one, Brud is still ahead of me. The decision to get familiar with Mr Piotr C.’s literature was swift and spontaneous, so I came by books in pdf, but later on, as I shared my first impressions with one of my friends, it turned out she was in possession of paperbacks and keen to lend them to me.

My first impression after going through first chapters of the first book was that I was waddling in filth and that it must have been a mistake, since this could not have been written by the same guy who publishes sensible stuff on Pokolenie Ikea blog. Actually my impression was much shaped by lack of proper distance towards reality I had at the very moment of starting out to read. If you do not belong to the world depicted in the book, keeping your distance to characters and their misbehaviours is the only way to safely endure it from cover to cover.

I still wonder how many people’s everyday existences look akin to how characters of the book live like. How many corpo-workers instead of raising families sacrifice over 50 hours per week to toil away for their employers, get well-paid but spend all their money on partying, boozing, dating and focus their all attention on looking for opportunities to have an intercourse with a first-met chick in her mid-twenties. My friends and workmates do not live like this. They have families, their spouses and children are priorities for them, they claim to have never lived like this, even in their mid-twenties, let alone around the age of 35 as characters of Pokolenie Ikea. Then I took a broader look and found such people working somewhere at the New Factory. I had few chances to work on something in collaboration with them, yet enough to find out I would not like to have anything in common with them. With my rather orderly life, I feel a sort of contempt for people whose (hollow) lives revolve around corporate treadmill, wild partying, casual sex, drugs and alcohol. Apologies, I got the order wrong, their lives ooze with perverse sexual adventures, everything else is just an addition.

But all in all, taking the picture of crazy folks in their 30s with a pinch of salt, I have found the story amusing, though the broader picture is rather bitter. Looking at characters, you see immature men in their thirties who desperately try to avoid facing adultness and shun responsibility. On the other hand you see women either sex-starved and resembling four female individuals from “Sex and the City” or desperately trying to latch into a guy having all makings of an ideal husband and father before their biological clock tells them it is too late.

Had it not been for the fact the author has claimed to be one of such kidults, I would have pointed out the whole series had been intended to ridicule the immature generation who cannot see further then the ends of their noses. But had it not been for the fact I have shared with you some episodes from my life I cannot be entirely proud of, I might interpret the book as a catharsis, an attempt to make up for all silly deeds, a penance consisting in guiding others not to take that path.

Conceivably I am scratching beneath the surface and struggling to find something beyond the straightforward purport of the books. Conceivably in vain, yet despite occasional disdain, I will make it to the end cover of the last, just to satisfy my curiosity.

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