Winner of the 1995 Polish Koscielski Foundation Prize
Immediately hailed as one of the most brilliant contributions to the literature of Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism, Dreams and Stones (Sny i kamienie) won the prestigious Koscielski Foundation Prize in Poland in 1995.
Tulli tells the story of the growth of a great city rebuilt after its complete destruction in World War II by entering the lives of the stones from which the buildings and monuments are constructed, as well as inhabiting the dreams of people and objects interwoven within the city’s history. This novel/prose poem’s haunting lyricism truly breaks new literary ground, and comparisons have been made between her work and the stories of Bruno Schulz.
Dreams and Stones is a startling, beautiful, powerful achievement. It calls the conventional genres of literature into question as its central image and metaphor, 'the tree of the world,' grows, spreads and deepens. It does away with the persistent superstition of humanity's distinction from 'nature.' The originality of the writing is not lessened by representing a family tree that includes Michaux, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramago. It is a work to welcome and return to, and the translation is vibrant and graceful.
— W.S. Merwin
Powerful imagery caught in a sinewy, architectural, elegiac prose. An inner-outer dance of cityscape with the taut emotion, terror & psyche of the 'human'. Where are we? What magical zone of dream and stone? We are inhabitants of the wild, brilliant imagination of Magdalena Tulli. This book is a great pleasure to read: deeply provocative, intuitive, haunting. 'I hunt among stones' was Charles Olson's probing line, a mission manifested here with full beauty & finesse. And rendered from Polish to English in an inspired translation by Bill Johnston.
— Anne Waldman
A beautifully flowing translation. Johnston aptly captures the dreamy as well as the stark quality of the original.
— Danuta Borchardt
Dreams and Stones, by the Polish writer Magdalena Tulli, is a postmodernist masterpiece of lyrical prose that defies generic definition and is rife with paradox and metaphor
— Kirsten Lodge, Slavic and East European Journal
Dreams and Stones especially, out of the four novels, is so amply rewarding sentence after sentence.... Opening [it] almost at random produces tiny masterpieces of paragraphs.
— Los Angeles Review of Books
It's no coincidence that the majority of blurbs for this book are written by poets. Each sentence in this magnificent book is a mini-poem, a little terrarium that encapsulates a particular philosophical moment in the growth of a city. The book opens with the grand metaphor of the world as a tree, and as this concept unfurls, the architecture of the city becomes permanently intertwined with the raw materials of nature and the terrifying depths of human psychology. It's a strange, wonderful ride!
— Mandy Medley, Unabridged Bookstore