Describing this makes it seems like an awful mess stitched together from reportage on the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a memoir of the authors own contact with the empire, travelogue and history of the various regions writer Geoff Dyer points out the section on the history of the Armenian book as especially wonderful, and I agree. The beauty of the writing pulls this together into a meditation on a collapsing empire and a changing of the world order with all the chaos and transformation that is involved. The rot, decay, and weirdness of collapse are what Kapusciski crafts his poetry from, and here he is frequently at his most poetic. But it is work, albeit well worth the trouble. It is difficult to put a finger on what it actually is -- travelogue vignettes is about as close as I can come to describing it.
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His sister Barbara was born the following year. They were born into poverty: he would later say that he felt at home in Africa as "food was scarce there too and everyone was also barefoot. When the Second World War began in September they came back to Pinsk after the city was captured by the Red Army and Ryszard returned to school there.
Later the family moved near Otwock. Ryszard continued education in primary school in Otwock — He became an amateur boxer bantamweight and football player. This was his first foreign trip. Their daughter Zofia was born in In August he reported from Kiev and in September he was sent to India , his first travel outside Europe. He returned via Afghanistan where he was detained at the airport in Kabul and Moscow.
He came back to Poland by the Trans-Siberian Railway. Beginning with that journey to India undertaken at the age of 24, he travelled across the developing world reporting on wars, coups and revolutions in Africa , Asia , and Latin America. Shortly afterwards he also joined the weekly Polityka where he worked till When he finally returned to Poland, he had lived through twenty-seven revolutions and coups, been jailed 40 times and survived four death sentences.
In he reported from the Republic of the Congo. He described his escape to Bujumbura and subsequent arrest in the book The Soccer War. In the years —65 he lived initially in Dar es Salaam and later in Nairobi from where he travelled to other countries in Africa. He came back to Poland only for few weeks in but returned to Africa to live in Lagos and continue reporting.
At the end of he came back to Poland. In April he went to Central Asia and Caucasus. In November the same year he started working as a foreign correspondent in South America , based in Santiago. Later he moved to Mexico — In he witnessed war in Honduras which he described in the book The Soccer War. In he edited and translated from the Spanish El diario del Che en Bolivia, the final literary bequest of Che Guevara.
He returned to Poland in and later worked for magazines Kontynenty and Kultura. In and he went to Ethiopia. The Emperor was written after his travels there. In he went to Iran to witness the Iranian Revolution. After this experience he wrote Imperium.
When it appeared in English translation in it received an immediate critical success. He was skilled in listening to the diverse people he met, but he was also capable of "reading" the hidden sense of the scenes he encountered: the way the Europeans moved out of Angola , a discussion regarding alimony in the Tanganyikan parliament, the reconstruction of frescoes in the new Russia —he turned each of these vignettes into a metaphor of historical transformation. He had great compassion for the poor, the victimised, and the debased.
He wrote a book Travels with Herodotus where he shows that the Histories of Herodotus are timeless and the masterpiece of reportage. Coetzee in that both writers were supposedly beholden to the theory of "the responsibility of witness".
Objectivity is the question of the conscience of the one who writes. And he himself should answer the question is this what he writes close to the truth or not". These conversations were published in Poland in in the book Pisanie Writing  but broadcast in Canada on Kalejdoskop Polski TV as early as He was vocal denouncing manipulations and ignorance of big media. He saw encountering the Other as the main challenge for the twenty-first century.
Its structure is immensely difficult to scrutinize. We have to concede that there are many things in this world which are impossible to delineate. He was critical on the Clash of Civilisations theory which he saw as an American vision of the world.
That instead of meaningful dialogue, it will just be gates and metal detectors". Los Angeles Times wrote: "Big events His account of how the Hutus and the Tutsis were drawn into that dark night of genocide in Rwanda is the most enlightening I have read anywhere" and that he had "transformed journalism into literature in his writings about Africa". Christians, would applaud. Truth, Christians has written, is "reason radiated by love", thus individual authenticity must be contingent on links to the other, the "I" always defined by its relationship to "Thou".
There is a double standard at work in such excuses, a clear eurocentric bias. Consider the hypothetical case of an author publishing a book of scandalous revelations about the last years of the Gierek regime in communist Poland, using dubious information obtained in obscure circumstances from anonymous and untraceable members of the Polish Internal Security Police.
It would not be considered a reasonable defence of such a book to say that it did not matter whether it was true or not because it was really intended, not as a book about Poland, but as an allegorical account of events in imperial Ethiopia.
Beata Nowacka University of Silesia  and Dr. Biografia pisarza. Biografia di uno scrittore. I still think his books are wonderful and precious. But ultimately, they belong to fiction. A Life in They are about his books. The adventures and encounters he describes in his books are on a different level of veracity. Scrupulous in his journalism, in his books he was capable of inventing in order to make a truth even truer.
He was a great story-teller, but not a liar. Ash wrote later that month reprinted in his Facts Are Subversive : "with Kapuscinski, we keep crossing from the Kenya of fact to the Tanzania of fiction, and back again, but the transition is nowhere explicitly signalled. Neither is it possible, in my mind, to see it as a sliding scale, in which you are able slowly to introduce droplets of fiction into a factual text until, at a certain point, the mixture transforms into pure fiction.
No, once an element of fiction is introduced into a text everything immediately turns into fiction — maybe fiction with a strong resemblance to the real world, but still fiction.