Read Interview with BE Andre, whose Engaging Novel “With Blood and Scars” Paints a Portrait of Life Growing up as Pole in Post-War Britain
Split between Manchester in the 1960s and the present day, With Blood and Scars is the debut work of British Pole B.E. Andre (pictured). Narrated by “Ania” at two stages of her life, the book paints a vivid, sympathetic and engaging portrait of a Polish community in the UK in the generation after the Second World War. Despite the novel’s strong Polish accent, the author unobtrusively blends elements of Polish history and culture in a story that refreshes the coming of age genre, showing that growing up doesn’t end in childhood – and that the perplexities of those formative years never completely go away.
With Blood and Scars has been exceptionally warmly received by reviewers. W-Wa Jeziorki says: “nothing written – in English or Polish – to date has come so close to capturing our generation’s unique experience, the children born to Poles washed up on Albion’s shores, having survived the horrors of WWII – be it deportation to Siberia by Stalin or living through the Nazi occupation of Poland”.
On the Bieganski Blog, Michał Karski writes: “Those readers new to “Polska Land”, who only know the Poles because of one popular pope, or because of a moustachioed trade union leader, or through their local Polish delicatessen or perhaps because they have employed an efficient builder or plumber, may be surprised to learn about the post-war origins of the Polish presence in the UK. This novel is a good introduction to a community which is not so much separate or enclosed or somehow exists in parallel to the mainstream English one but continues – in spite all the shared values and the interaction with ordinary British life – to have many of its own traditions and definitely has its fair share of idiosyncratic customs”.
But what of the author herself? We spoke to B.E. Andre about her motivations, being Polish in the UK, and what With Blood and Scars means to her…
|With Blood and ScarsAvailable now in print or paperback.Order from Amazon in the UK here.
Order from Amazon in the US here.