Tadeusz Konwicki (tah-DAY-uhsh kohn-WIHTS-kih), a Polish writer. He is a middle-aged man with a somewhat cynical outlook on life. On the day before Christmas, he is standing in a line outside a jewelry store in Warsaw waiting for a shipment of goods to arrive from the Soviet Union. The situation prompts his meeting a number of other people with whom he has conversations, allowing his opinions and views on a wide range of subjects to be expressed.
Tadeusz Kojran (KOY-rahn), a man standing behind Konwicki in the line outside the jewelry store. In 1951, he followed Konwicki for three weeks with the intention of shooting him. He will be taking a trip to America.
Duszek (DEW-shehk), another man waiting in line, physically large and with an outgoing personality. He loves to drink and is responsible for getting several of the men in line to a local drinking place. He also is prone to announcing generalizations about the Polish national character. He guarded Kojran in jail in 1952.
Zygmunt Mineyko (mi-NEE-koh), a young revolutionary from the 1860’s. He is evoked by Konwicki in an intense flashback during which Konwicki addresses him in the first person and...
(The entire section is 540 words.)