Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hard Currency Steven Owad

Hard Currency

Steven Owad

Five Star, Jul 6 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825799

In 1992 in a seedy Warsaw apartment, the police rule that prostitute Krystyna Krol overdosed on drugs. Once a political activist, her brother Julian the reporter is shocked by what the cops decide as his estrange brilliant sister had a bright future in the free Poland.

Though feeling remorse for not being there for his sibling, it is the drugs that most disturb Julian as Krystyna was the most anti-drug person he knew. Unable to resist he obsesses with a need to know why she so radically changed. Julian interviews the government officials who investigated his sister’s death and her roommates. What he finds is not a picture of the enthusiastic brilliant girl he knew; but instead someone caught up in government corruption that survived the Communists and meth dealers thronging in an otherwise bleak world.

The dream and hope of Solidarity has turned into a collective nightmare of despair in Steven Owad’s grim look at Poland just after the Soviet implosion. There are too many odd incidents that seem to serve more as painting the dark venue and subsequently supersedes Julian’s investigation into his sister’s falling from grace. Still Hard Currency is an intriguing melancholy glimpse at the failure of capitalism following in top of the failure of Communism.

Harriet Klausner

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