A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

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A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland

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And I also did not like his “preacher” persona when he talks about EU, racism and many other things. There are many footnotes, some explaining historical references, others amusing extensions of the main text.

Aitken includes interactions with a very wide range of folks, including ones who didn't speak (much) English from across the country (he makes several "field trips" to other cities). By the year's end he had a better sense of what the Poles had turned their backs on - southern mountains, northern beaches, dumplings! It is a unique country, as is the United Kingdom, and although there are things I don't like about either country, I love them both. Even though I fully agree with him on these points a book like this is not the platform to share your political views and other convictions (do not feed bread to the ducks people, do not!

All topics are narrated with sensitivity, and Askitt is often able to take a step back and admit his ignorance on a topic or even to explain complex thoughts in a light and funny manner. In a strange twist of Immigration, Aitken sets off to discover for himself through moving to Poland for a year. There was an altercation in the beginning and throughout the novel about Islamaphobia yet the author never seems to recognise how much he is able to get away with. Descriptions and the way he noticed little things and him commenting what he took photos of was cool.

Images previously embedded in my head of a grey and gloomy Poland were wiped out and replaced with colour, humour, a little suspense and a bit of an education, moving it higher up my list of ‘places to visit before I die’.

I really enjoyed the footnotes, which often added some welcome exposition to the main text and complimented the diary style. When he wasn’t peeling potatoes he was on the road scratching the country’s surface: he milked cows with a Eurosceptic farmer; missed the bus to Auschwitz; spent Christmas with complete strangers and went to Gdansk to learn how communism got the chop.

Aitken took his curiosity as the EU referendum approached to go and investigate Poland and why Polish people come to the UK, and to do so by living there for a year and doing minimum wage jobs.Ben’s journey to discover the relationship between Poland and Britain and why so many Poles were leaving home, which just happened to be during the year of the referendum, was so colourful and witty that I literally couldn’t wait to meet the next chapter. When it comes to meeting Jędrzej, a friend of Aitken’s employers at the language school he agreed to work for, we once again see the author’s humorous take on the Polish language shine through: “What a queer set of letters.

As I stated before, for the author to put himself out into the public is admirable and I don't think it should be met with excessive judgement. For instance, chapter 12 highlights Aitken’s experiences roaming around Freedom Square in Poznań to hear people’s opinions on Brexit. Ben Aitken is definitely great at chopping potatoes but he's even better at slicing apart and serving a surprising mixture of stories from the country at the "heart of Europe". Most of this travelogue is set in Poznan, a fabulous city I adore and have been to many times, the rest of the book reports from various places in Poland.To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. usually it would take me a day or two two finish a book of this calibre, but i struggled with this one over the course of two months. The Marmalade Diaries (2022) is the story of an unlikely friendship during an unlikely time, and stems from the author’s decision to move in with an 85 year old widow ten days before a national lockdown. He didn’t know anyone there, and spoke no Polish at first, and only rudimentarily so after a few weeks.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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