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Last Mazurka: A Tale of War, Passion a/Tarnowski, And/Paper/1845131924/S056-B1
The shot Count Hieronim Tarnowski fired on his wedding night in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, was like a tocsin that sounded the doom of his ancient Polish family. When in August 1939 his daughter Sophie saw blood pouring down the side of her train, she foresaw a terrible future and knew her idyllic world would be swept away. Thirty years later, when Count Hieronim's British grandson Andrew learned of the death of his mother - the beautiful, fragile and abused Chouquette - his sense of lost identity deepened and he set out to rediscover the world from which he came. These moments punctuate an extraordinary tale of the downfall of a once-powerful family, which in turn mirrors the twentieth-century fate of a nation ravaged by invasions and crushed by tyranny.
Before 1945, Poland, now a fledgling EU country, was an almost Tolstoyan world of wolf hunts and extravagant opulence, set alongside great poverty and a semi-feudal peasantry, in a landscape of frozen fields and dark forests. Broken by war, it was reduced by communism to drab uniformity, and a way of life was lost forever.
This world out of time is the setting for Andrew Tarnowski's memoir, The Last Mazurka, a tale of loss and exile, love and violence, wandering and longing, told with poignancy and unexpected humour, and a lingering regret.