Like Eating a Stone

PEN PROMOTES white on black
Like Eating a Stone by Wojciech Tochman
Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Published by Portobello Books, March 2008


Like Eating a Stone is an unsettling yet incredibly moving piece of literary non-fiction work that transcends the boundaries of traditional journalism and reportage.

A powerful, disturbing account of the Bosnian experience told uniquely from the point of view of civilian victims, mainly women involved in the conflict. One of the main characters is a female forensic anthropologist, who collects and identifies human remains. The book follows a few women as they travel through the post-war landscape (from mass graves, to their old, now abandoned houses) and visit the scenes of their loss: a hall where the clothing of victims is displayed; an underground cave with its pale jumble of bones; a camp for homeless refugees; a city now abandoned to the ghosts of painful memories; a funeral service where a family finally says goodbye. The book is written in the style of a minimal reportage, where the author doesn’t interfere but allows his subjects to speak.



Born in 1969 in Krakow, Wojciech Tochman is an award-winning reporter and writer. With Like Eating A Stone, Tochman became a finalist for the Nike Polish Literary Prize and for the Prix Témoin du Monde, awarded by Radio France International. He set up an organization looking for missing people in Poland. He is also an author of two previous books: One Doesn’t Burn the Stones and Daughter, both published by Znak.


Antonia Lloyd-Jones is a freelance editor and translator. Her translations from Polish include works by Joanna Olczak-Ronikier, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz and Paweł Huelle, of which the novels Who was David Weiser? and Mercedes-Benz were both short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Award.



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