Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Children Of Our Age by A M Bakalar

Children Of Our Age by A M Bakalar
Published in the UK by Jantar Publishing in November 2017.

Featured in WorldReads: Poland

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository

Karol and his wife are the rising stars of the Polish community in London but Karol is a ruthless entrepreneur whose fortune is built  on the backs of his fellow countrymen. The Kulesza brothers, mentally unstable Igor and his violent brother Damian, dream about returning to Poland one day. A loving couple, Mateusz and Angelika, believe against all odds that good things will happen to people like them. Gradually, all of these lives become dramatically entwined, and each of them will have to decide how far they are willing to go in pursuit of their dreams.

Insightful and unforgiving, Children of Our Age is a deeply human and timely story of Polish immigrants. Sweeping between their past in Poland and their present in Britain, this electrifying novel explores the ways unlikely encounters transform lives, the limits of loyalty, and love.

I enjoyed Children Of Our Age as a literary fiction novel. The comment on its cover about it being a thriller I would question because I didn't feel it had the degree of suspense necessary for that genre although there are certainly tense moments throughout the story. Where I felt Bakalar excels is in her portrayals of motivated and believable people, several of whom I didn't actually like, but all of whom I was keen to spend time with and I wanted to know how their individual stories both linked and panned out. Karol is an amazing creation - an intensely focused sociopath who, it appears, genuinely cannot understand what it wrong with his exploitation of his countrymen's dreams and naivete. The contrast between his callousness and the violence of his, for want of a better word, henchmen, the Kulesza brothers, is an interesting facet to the story. In a way I could stomach Karol's actions more easily because his motivation is practical and pragmatic rather than sadistic, not that that makes much difference to the women and men caught up in his deceptions.

Children Of Our Age is set within a Polish community in London and has a strong sense of both countries, however the storyline itself is very much about human nature, gullibility and greed. It transcends any particular nationality as people across the globe are equally as nasty to each other as our protagonists here. There are several violently shocking moments so I wouldn't recommend this novel to particularly sensitive souls, but if you're ok with reading about brutal scenes, this is a thought-provoking and rewarding work.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by A M Bakalar / Contemporary fiction / Books from Poland


  1. I always enjoy books which have some cultural elements in them. I also really am intrigued by this one being about the Polish community in Britain because I know England does have a very large Polish community and I haven't really read about it at all before! Maybe I will learn something new about the community.

    1. It was interesting for me to recognise aspects of Polish culture from having previously worked alongside Poles in the UK