Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Swallowing Mercury
Cover of Swallowing Mercury
Swallowing Mercury
Borrow Borrow Borrow

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize

"Achieves a form of literary alchemy that mesmerizes."—The New York Times

In this celebrated debut from prize-winning poet Wioletta Greg, Wiola looks back on her youth in a close-knit, agricultural community in 1980s Poland. Her memories are precise, intense, distinctive, sensual: a playfulness and whimsy rise up in the gossip of the village women, rumored visits from the Pope, and the locked room in the dressmaker's house, while political unrest and predatory men cast shadows across this bright portrait. In prose that sparkles with a poet's touch, Wioletta Greg's debut animates the strange wonders of growing up.

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize

"Achieves a form of literary alchemy that mesmerizes."—The New York Times

In this celebrated debut from prize-winning poet Wioletta Greg, Wiola looks back on her youth in a close-knit, agricultural community in 1980s Poland. Her memories are precise, intense, distinctive, sensual: a playfulness and whimsy rise up in the gossip of the village women, rumored visits from the Pope, and the locked room in the dressmaker's house, while political unrest and predatory men cast shadows across this bright portrait. In prose that sparkles with a poet's touch, Wioletta Greg's debut animates the strange wonders of growing up.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • WIOLETTA GREG is a Polish writer; she was born in a small village in 1974 in the Jurassic Highland of Poland. In 2006, she left Poland and moved to the UK. Between 1998–2012 she published six poetry volumes, as well as a novel, Swallowing Mercury, which spans her childhood and her experience of growing up in Communist Poland. Her short stories and poems have been published in Asymptote, the Guardian, Litro Magazine, Poetry Wales, Wasafiri, and The White Review. Her works have been translated into English, Catalan, French, Spanish, and Welsh.

    ELIZA MARCINIAK is an editor and translator. She lives in London, England. Her recent projects include Swallowing Mercury, by Wioletta Greg, translated from Polish.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 10, 2017
    In this excellent debut novel, Greg combines a series of vignettes into a coming-of-age story about persistence through hardship. The book follows a young girl, Wiola, as she matures into a woman during the late 1980s, the final years of the Polish People’s Republic. The narrative is centered in the fictional village of Hektary, a struggling rural community. Wiola narrates her experiences: reuniting with her absent father, accepting the death of her first pet, being sexually assaulted, and, eventually, defining herself. Each chapter is contained and strong enough to stand as its own piece of short fiction. Recurring images of flies reinforce the book’s theme of degradation, particularly the decay of innocence and youth. The concise sentences and stark language mirror the scarcity of daily life during the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. The protagonist’s recollections also delve into collisions between religious and political ideology, exemplifying the conflict between self and society. Marciniak’s deft translation amplifies the engrossing sensory details of Greg’s heartbreaking and enlivening novel.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 1, 2017
    An autobiographical novel about a young girl growing up in a small Polish village.Greg (Finite Formulae and Theories of Chance, 2014, etc.) has published several volumes of poetry and been translated into at least five different languages. Her first book of prose, an autobiographical novel (or a fictionalized memoir), was received to great acclaim in the U.K. and was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. The book's appearance in the U.S. is a great gift. The novel describes Greg's childhood and early adolescence in a small Polish village in the 1970s and '80s. It is composed of short, vivid chapters that glisten and gleam, clicking one behind the other like pearls on a string. In one, Wiola (as she is called here) anticipates a visit from the pope to their village--really, he will just be driving through, but the village women eagerly prepare bunting to welcome him. Just as the bunting has been finished, however, a crowd of men arrives to destroy it: these are communist times, after all. Greg's ability to describe moments of great historical, political, and cultural importance through the eyes of a child is wonderful. She remains focused on her young protagonist even as the Soviet Union splinters around her. Even better is Greg's emphasis on bright, almost otherworldly images that crop up throughout these chapters. Wiola's father practices taxidermy in his spare time; one day, after completing a project, he falls asleep on the sofa: "The goshawk, with its artificially spread wings, soared above him." Later, her father dies, but before he does, Wiola notices "the shadow of a queen bee flicker[ing] in the window." The images give the novel a fairy-tale quality, as does the threat of sexual violence, which echoes throughout several chapters. Greg's masterful first novel is charming, seductive, and sinister by turns.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Transit Books
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 5 titles every 7 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Swallowing Mercury
Swallowing Mercury
Wioletta Greg
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel