Recommended Reading: Accommodations


By Wioletta Greg, Jennifer Croft (translator)

Accommodations follows Wiola after she leaves her childhood village, a close-knit agricultural community in Poland where the Catholic calendar and local gossip punctuate daily life. Her new independence in the nearby city of Czestochowa is far from a fresh start, as she moves between a hostel and a convent brimming with secrets, taking in the stories of those around her. In the same striking prose that drew readers to her critically acclaimed debut, Accommodations navigates Wiola’s winding path to self-discovery.

About The Author: Wioletta Greg

Wioletta Grzegorzewska, or Wioletta Greg is a Polish poet and writer, born in a small village Rzeniszów in Jurassic Highland in Poland. In 2006, she left her country and moved to the Isle of Wight. She lives in Essex. 

Read an Excerpt

At six twenty p.m. Moscow time, Russian aircrafts attack Grozny. The bombs damage four power stations and a television tower.

The halls of the Vega are exceptionally quiet. Not even the TV in the common room is on. The potted palm curls up its leaves from the cold. Slowly the trail of muddy tracks that stretches from Natka’s office to the front doors of the Vega—which wobble on their hinges like they serve in a saloon—dries. Everyone but Sergey—who keeps reading books in his room on the second floor, playing songs every so often on his harmonica, playing himself in chess, packaging his jute bags for market—is sitting around the space heater, their eyes never wandering from its orange spirals.

“When we were living in Siberia,” Alex interrupts the silence, “there was this one cow named Apryelka.”

“Apryelka . . .” I repeat, because it strikes me as a nice name.

“Because she was born in April,” Alex explains. “That cow really made an impression on me. When she sensed we were about to sell her, she completely changed her behavior. She just wandered around mooing, with these tears pouring down her face like peas. Eventually my parents went to this struggling sovkhoz, where they bought Mayka. Mayka had been brought up under deep communism, getting her ears pierced, with this little number put in there. So then we went and took her home with us and started to just hang around a little where she was, started cleaning her, giving her different types of tasty treats, and it was like she could tell, I mean that we were really taking care of her, that we cared about her, and she became more similar to a dog or something. We never had to worry about her. We knew that if she went somewhere she’d always come right back.”

“How’d you land in Siberia?” Waldek asks.

“My dad was in the military, they transferred him there. Meanwhile my grandpa got his electrician’s degree, and everybody told him not to enlist, because there had to be a man left in the village, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

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Article originally Published in the October/November 2019 Issue “Read Global”

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