First published in 1957 in Poland, Bacacay is a collection of twelve short stories by Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1968), one of the major European literary figures of the 20th century. Stunningly original in both style and content, these stories are often hilarious yet with an undercurrent of profound moral disquiet and horror when the respectable turns slowly but inexorably into the outrageous, conveying both the horrors of upper-class life and the deepest anguish of the human condition.
Each story obeys an internal logic as unique as its creator’s fingerprints.
— Thomas D'Adamo, Bookforum
Grotesque, erotic, and often hilarious, the stories immediately established Gombrowicz's extraordinary voice ... As creepy as Poe and as absurdist as Kafka.
— Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker
Gombrowicz's extravagant, gleefully anarchic gifts explode on every page of his early collection Bacacay. And the wit and verve Bill Johnston brings to his daunting task produce a translatorly tour de force—the most riotously readable English Gombrowicz yet.
— Clare Cavanagh
One of the great novelists of our century.
— Milan Kundera
Transgressive writing at its best. These stories, brimming with the carnivalesque and the subversive, sail on a tide of wit and paradox. Bill Johnston's remarkable translation succeeds in capturing Gombrowicz's outrageousness and invention.
— Halina Filipowicz
I have always been devoted to the extraordinary novels of Gombrowicz, the great Polish writer who spent most of his creative life exiled in Argentina—a true legend among Latin American writers. And now come his short stories—masterpieces of the absurd and the obsessive, fantastical and yet grounded in a terrifying coherence, another tour de force from one of the most fascinating authors of the twentieth century.
— Ariel Dorfman
These exuberant stories, so startlingly fresh, so vigorous, and so wildly inventive, are a delight.
— Alastair Reid
Gombrowicz is one of the most original and gifted writers of the twentieth century: he belongs at the very summit, at the side of his kindred spirits, Kafka and Céline. This collection of his stories will serve as an admirable and fascinating introduction to his oeuvre.
— Washington Post Books World
These are weird and wonderful and erudite as anything by Borges and Joyce…It′s safe to think of Bacacay as Gombrowicz′s Dubliners: a collection of complex and sophisticated short stories that contain within them all the seeds of the author′s later artistic blooming.
— The Believer
Gombrowicz is seductive and repulsive, amusing and alarming by turns or at once, or from one sentence to the next… All of this is, for me, thrilling. Bacacay is one of the most remarkable collections of stories in world literature.
— The Globe and Mail
This version of Bacacay raises the bar for all Gombrowicz translations and makes an excellent introduction for readers new to his tragicomic world.
— The Nation
As in Gombrowicz′s airily bizarre novels…lucid, concise narratives are weighted with outrageous premises and absurd developments that recall the work of Kafka, Beckett, Bruno Schulz, and (especially) Ionesco… Johnston′s brilliant translations vividly convey the radically unconventional content and style of one of the 20th century′s strangest—and greatest—writers.
— Kirkus Reviews
But just as you know a person by the company he keeps, you can begin to draw a bead on Bacacay by locating it among the works of other artists with whom Gombrowicz would have felt right at home. A short list of these might include Bruno Schulz, Eugéne Ionesco, the Marx Brothers, Terry Gilliam, Joseph Heller, Donald Barthelme, and George Saunders.
— Thomas D'Adamo, Bookforum