Fox Season and Other Short Stories
Agnieszka Dale's characters all want to find greatness, but they realise greatness isn't their thing. But what is? And what is great anyway? In Peek-a-boo, a mother breastfeeds her child via Skype, at work. In Hello Poland, a man reunites with his daughter in a world where democracy has been replaced by user testing. In other short stories, people bow and are bowed to. They feed foxes or go fishing. They kiss the fingers of those they love while counting to ten. Dale writes about being Polish; being outside Poland; being a woman; being visible and invisible; from the East; from the West; from somewhere central. Dale’s world is an intimate kingdom. It’s a happy nation with no distinct nationality, a place where people still try, believe, or just are.
"Fascinating and refreshingly honest stares at life in a foreign place."
—Zoë Apostolides, Financial Times
"The stories in this impressive debut collection are often quite odd — generally in a good way — with peculiar and perplexing endings that demand a second reading. At times, they are both humorous and poignant; at others, as wars and rumors of wars ride the darker undercurrents, they seem disturbingly portentous.”
— Loree L. Westron, LA Review of Books
"Dale is between cultures, rooted in one, integrated into another, perfectly placed as observer and participant. She writes with an entrancing blend of distance and intimacy. In this country, she is an immigrant, but one who knows us and our language too well for comfort. Reading her, it feels that someone who has learned to be one of us, now does it better than we do. She knows what makes us laugh, and what makes us laughable.”
— Jeremy Hardy, comedian
"Agnieszka Dale’s impressive debut depicts on a large canvas our current world of chaos. Her sharp, humorous, sensitive and metaphorical style confirms that a new, exciting voice has arrived on the scene.”
— Xiaolu Guo,
author of A Concise Chinese- English Dictionary for Lovers
nominated for 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction