The Lullaby of Polish Girls
by Dagmara Dominczyk
A vibrant, engaging debut novel that follows the friendship of three women from their youthful days in Poland to their complicated, not-quite-successful adult lives
Because of her father’s role in the Solidarity movement, Anna and her parents immigrate to the United States in the 1980s as political refugees from Poland. They settle in Brooklyn among immigrants of every stripe, yet Anna never quite feels that she belongs. But then, the summer she turns twelve, she is sent back to Poland to visit her grandmother, and suddenly she experiences the shock of recognition. In her family’s hometown of Kielce, Anna develops intense friendships with two local girls—brash and beautiful Justyna and desperately awkward Kamila—and their bond is renewed every summer when Anna returns. The Lullaby of Polish Girls follows these three best friends from their early teenage years on the lookout for boys in Kielce—a town so rough
The Lullaby of Polish Girls
its citizens are called “the switchblades”—to the loss of innocence that wrecks them, and the stunning murder that reaches across oceans to bring them back together after they’ve grown and long since left home.
Dagmara Dominczyk’s assured narrative flashes from the wild summers of the girls’ youth to their years of self-discovery in New York and Europe. Her writing is full of grit and guts, and her descriptions of the emotional experiences of her characters resonate with honesty. The Lullaby of Polish Girls captures the passion and drama of friendship, the immigrant’s yearning to be known, and the exquisite and wistful transformation of young women coming of age.
Praise for The Lullaby of Polish Girls
“An ennui-stricken actress returns to the old country—and to the friends of her youth—in Dagmara Dominczyk’s The Lullaby of Polish Girls, in which solidarity is all about summer evenings under the stars with a vodka bottle and a radio playing ‘Forever Young.’ ”—Vogue
“Compelling . . . an original portrait of friendship and identity . . . Dominczyk uses a fresh, confident style.”—People (3-1/2 stars)
“In this arresting debut novel, Polish American film and TV actress Dominczyk pays homage to her native city of Kielce while capturing the joys, insecurities, and struggles of three girlfriends coming of age. Spanning thirteen years, Dominczyk’s absorbing story is a triptych of tsknota (Polish for a kind of yearning) and a profound desire for acceptance, freedom, and home.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fresh and revelatory.”—Publishers Weekly
“The narrative moves around seamlessly in both time and place, from Europe to Greenpoint, a Polish neighborhood in New York City’s Brooklyn, and to the Midwest. The cast of characters is equally broad in scope, yet each one is richly imagined. . . . This debut is not to be missed.”—Library Journal
“The Lullaby of Polish Girls is a striking and vivid debut novel, absolutely buzzing with energy. Dagmara Dominczyk’s freshly observed story about the intertwined lives of three friends is both sexy and sensitive, with a raw, openhearted center. Dominczyk’s love for her complicated characters is apparent from the first page to the last, and by the novel’s end the reader cares for them just as deeply.”—Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures