This is a quaint tale of tolerance and acceptance in an environment of deeply ingrained prejudice. Tomek and Robert meet in their final year of high school and form a close bond. Along with a group of like-minded friends, they move through the most significant period of their adolescence with unlimited joie de vivre and the buoyant hopefulness of youth.
Robert and his family are already society outcasts due to being leszys—creatures of the forest able to take human shape. Compounding this alienation and rejection is the fact Robert knows he is gay, yet he remains unapologetic and fiercely proud of his identity. Unfortunately, Tomek faces a lot of confusion over his sexuality and this leads the pair in different directions, estranging them for a number of years.
This novella is sensitively written, and the scenes of deep emotion and intimacy are handled with great care. The whimsical, otherworldly tone of the writing makes it seem at times as if the book is translated from another language, which only adds to its Eastern European charm. Lush forests and pierogi and fresh-baked rye bread and cosy cottages in the woods abound.
Savour this little tome like a sumptuous wedliny—a platter of gourmet delights, each taste just enough to leave a lasting impression. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️