Author: Magdalena Zyzak
Compared to Jonathon Swift in some reviews, this first novel by Ms. Zyzak, an American writer born in Poland, reveals a satire genre mixed with several other genres about a poor farmer from a mythical Slavic country called Scalvusia, year 1939. As I struggled through the writing and plot, my first thought was “overdone, sometimes burnt like toast”. Ms. Zyzak attempts to bring in issues before World War II through the guise of Barnabas Pierkiel, a narcissistic Slavic farmer who bumbles his way through a quest for love of Roosha Papusha, the gypsy queen. With apparent intended parallels to Don Quixote, the Spanish literary novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra that details the adventures of Alonso Quijano, a.k.a. Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman who loves chivalry and decides to go on a quest with his farmer pal Sancho, Zyzak’s satire falls far short. The characters find themselves in a stereotypical morass and the reader yawns as he or she staggers into this mythical and deranged plot with characters that dull the blade of her prose. Both Barnabas Pierkiel and Don Quixote ride strange steeds that are representative of something, but I am not sure what that something is.
On the other hand, many people might adore this insane dialogue and see political connections that I missed. My take was that Zyzak tried too hard, although some of her language is fascinating, I never found a point in the plot.
This is a novel you will have to read as many of you might appreciate the adventures of Barnabas and the demise of Scalvusia. I personally found it annihilating and boring.
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel: A Novel is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide