The novel, whose hero Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki modeled on the person of the Łódź deviant, hated by public opinion, contains many elements that are determinants of his excellent writing. On the formal level – economical style and brilliant phrase, while on the thematic level the prose writer revolves around the orbit of topics typical of himself. And that’s good, because that’s why I value his work, which with a constant thematic reservoir is very diverse, because it’s prose stretched between issues related to the existential dimension of the individual and the ethical layer organizing human life. Dobrzaniecki in his literature persistently delves into this subject and considers it from different perspectives, pointing to ambivalence, paradoxes, ambiguities and complications. In “Preparator”, chaos seems to rule the fate of the main character, and the lack of order pushes him towards the final catastrophe. First things first.
Klimko-Dobrzaniecki emphasizes the role of childhood in the development of human personality, and especially – in Freudian – emphasizes the trauma, humiliation and calamities experienced during this period of life. He also attaches special importance to the first things, obsessively even in his prose exposed, fulfilling the function – let’s call it – transition rituals, which in his opinion decide on the shape of the character’s personality, determining whether his life will be marked by fulfillment or on the contrary, will become a band of failures and anguish. In the end, she creates firm, decisive, and most importantly, strong female heroines, as we know from his earlier texts, and whose opposite are weak, emotionally mutilated and bruised by them.
In connection with the above, it is necessary to say a few words about the main character who, most likely, during the interrogation gets the opportunity to reveal his interior. He exposes his emotions to bring the reader closer to his terrifyingly sad, frustrating life, in fact crowned with a ruinous tragedy, to ultimately point to the factors – in his opinion – determining why he became a monster in human skin. A dysfunctional family is a well-known and quite often discussed topic in Polish latest prose – even the notable “Gnój” by Wojciech Kuczok, the original novel “Tabu” by Kinga Dunin or the pretty “Nativity Scene” by Zośka Papużanki. Yes, the family hell has its share in shaping the hero’s pathological personality. Lack of relationship with his mother and quite superficial with his father translated in the adult life of a cold doctor to his hatred of his parent. Their mutual relations were dominated by contempt and mutual resentment evolving towards extreme hostility. His father sometimes appeared, but in practice he was absent for some time. After all, few father-and-son fishing trips could not compensate for the years of parental indifference. However, it is he who performs such an important, not only in “Preparator”, but also in other texts of the Dobrzaniecki act of initiation, he tames him with death, he initiates into a profession that requires exceptional psychological resistance. And in fact, the son repeats the pattern of his father’s life, becoming his mirror image. In my opinion, the rank of a symbol is a scene where the son makes every effort to prepare his parent for the last journey after his father’s death.
The life of our hero comes down to constant loss. In Czechoslovakia, as a maturing boy, he first encountered the initiation into the sexual sphere and through the prism of Wiera, a woman who made him a man, will see all his later partners, and the likeness of a young woman lying on the dissecting table to the first mistress will become a catalyst leading to an explosion of stuck in him previously unaware of evil. The main character of “The Preparator” became a victim of various kinds of external oppression, which was additionally emphasized by a peculiar theory of the future murderer assuming that evil is not an immanent part of a person’s personality, that he is stuck outside, outside, to some point does not touch him directly. He emphasizes it every time he makes his digressive monologue, de facto dominant in the formal layer. His interlocutor speaks rarely, sometimes responds with short phrases, or asks concise questions aimed at continuing to draw the current thread in conversation.
The hero’s mind was also created by the author of “Bornholm, Bornholm” – using the term related to his profession in the dissecting room – appropriately prepared. In his nostalgic, resurrecting memories, he moves on a wide range of issues, problems and topics, but what can I say, the writer closed the vision of the world of his literary construction in stereotypes and common mental beliefs. Although his argument in places may seem attractive, and original views, in practice he thinks schematics. The charge of life frustration, setbacks that occur in almost every field of life experience resulted primarily from the oppression I mentioned. Everything he encountered was oppressive. Possessive mother deprived of any maternal feelings towards him, imposed religion, bearing incest sexuality, but also extremely demanding erotic drive of the unattractive wife of the hero, and finally the everyday life that could not be solved with her, which led her to new material complications and trouble driving the evil machine.
The latest novel by the creator of “Lullaby for Hangman” can be read as a multi-level treatise on evil, about how a beast is born in a man, about when this critical point appears that makes human life irreversibly burst and something inevitable is born, fatal and devastating at the same time. It is also a book addressing the problem of pushing the boundaries of normatively understood ethics, but it is also a narrative revealing the destructive power of passivity and powerlessness. “The Preparator” falls into this kind of painful, fictional story that shakes the reader twice: first, because of the topic from which the author woven the novel’s story, and secondly, paralyzing is the awareness that the basis of the fictionality of the text were, however, macabre, authentic events that the matter of facts was a permanent reference point for the writer in the creative process. It will be a truism to say that life is the most terrifying scenario, but what to do, in this case it is difficult to say anything else that hits the nail on the head.
Justyna Anna Zanik