The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This novel-in-verse follows one man from a childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland to adolescence in Chicago to broken adulthood in Zodiac-era San Francisco. But instead of telling it straight, his life story is shredded, flayed, and tossed in the air. The horrors—a tragic accident, draft-dodging, the massacre in Jedwabne—mingle with the humor—certifiably insane coworkers, life-saving typos, drama of philosophy departments. The non-linear storytelling is as vital as the poetry. The Wherewithal is Perseus’s shield, allowing us to face unfathomable darkness without losing sight of our humanity.

-- Rachel

— From Rachel W. Staff Picks


I, one Henryk Stanislaw Wyrzykowski Head Clerk of Closed Files a department of one work in a forgotten well of ghostly sigh

This astonishing novel in verse tells the story of Henryk Wyrzykowski, a drifting, haunted young man hiding from the Vietnam War in the basement of a San Francisco welfare building and translating his mother's diaries. The diaries concern the Jedwabne massacre, an event that took place in German-occupied Poland in 1941. Wildly inventive, dark, beautiful, and unrelenting, The Wherewithal is a meditation on the nature of evil and the destruction of war.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393351446
ISBN-10: 0393351440
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2015
Pages: 192
Language: English