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REVIEW: Quarterly Conversation on A Treatise on Shelling Beans



P.T Smith thoughtfully reviews Wiesław Myśliwski’s A Treatise on Shelling Beans in Issue 35 of Quarterly Conversation. 

A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from his childhood in Poland during World War II to his current life as an aging caretaker of cabins by a lake. During it all, the narrator responds to questions from the listener, but we never hear this strange man’s voice, only the responses. Each question becomes a starting point for another story.


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