I’ve been happy since the morning. Delighted, even. Everything seems so splendidly transient to me. That dust, from which thou art and unto which thou shalt return — it tempts me. And that’s why I wander about these roads, these woods, among the nearby houses, from which waft the aromas of fried pork chops, chicken soup, fish, diapers, steamed potatoes for the pigs; I lose my eye-sight, and regain it again. I don’t know what life is, Ola, but I’m holding on to it. Thus speaks the narrator of Rafał Wojasiński’s novel Olanda. Awarded the prestigious Marek Nowakowski Prize for 2019, Olanda introduces us to a world we glimpse only through the window of our train, as we hurry from one important city to another: a provincial world of dilapidated farmhouses and sagging apartment blocks, overgrown cemeteries and village drunks; a world seemingly abandoned by God — and yet full of the basic human joy of life itself. Our English translation of Olanda, which includes the radio play Old Man Kalina, brings one of Poland’s great contemporary writers of fiction to the wider world for the first time. These narratives may not contain the entire world, just like a village at the end of a dirt road running through ponds, that floods after a heavy rain, does not contain all that may be found in Warsaw. But the world they contain is an intriguing one, in which everyone, from aging beauties through gravedigger philosophers, defrocked seminarians and even the occasional politician, is welcome.