The Polish Lover

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sexual obsession and alienation are elegantly portrayed in Anthony Weller’s second novel, THE POLISH LOVER. Like Danny, its New York jazz-musician narrator, the story repeats itself in different variations while adding fresh details of its history and eventual outcome.

Taking a break in New Zealand after a concert tour, Danny, an American jazz musician, meets Maja, a beautiful Polish exile visiting the country with her current lover. Despite the fact that she is with another man, Danny falls in love with her, and, on parting, she agrees to come and visit him in New York.

When she does finally come to visit, Danny soon discovers that he is only one in a long list of men who have been painfully obsessed with her. Even so, he decides to emigrate to Amsterdam to be with her and her son. The days in Amsterdam are happy, and it is only after convincing her to take him to Poland to meet her family and old friends does the relationship start to unravel and finally fall apart. In the end, Danny is yet another of Maja’s ex-lovers, to be turned into anecdotes to entertain the next man in line.

This novel is as much about jazz as it is about love, and significantly, its climax comes with a recording Danny makes in Warsaw. Here the musical lyricism of Weller’s writing really works, with the backing rhythm section communicating with an intimacy that he and Maja have lost.