Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: The Best Polish Restaurant in Buffalo

By Lynn Willoughby

The Best Polish Restaurant in Buffalo ~  William Kowalski

Kowalski is an American-Canadian novelist and screen writer.  This novel is very personal and many of the characters were his ancestors and much of the story is true.  It tells the story of a century of life in America for a Polish farm girl and three generations of her descendants. Aniela is sixteen when she makes the long journey to America with her mother and two sisters.  The descriptions of life in the bowels of a steam ship, crowded with many nationalities, men, women, children, no air, no light, illness and death are very vivid and moving.  What determination and strength these immigrants had.

The four women work as cleaners, live in one small room and save every penny – walking two miles from home to work to save the ten cent car fare.  Most importantly, they constantly ten the “mother” of sourdough they brought with them from Poland in 1908.  This will become their future.The narrative is split between Aniela and her great-great grandson, who is presently managing The Best Polish Restaurant in Buffalo.  The authentic Polish food, and especially the baked goods, have been a successful business for many years, but it is all coming to an end.This is an easy, but memorable, read and I will read more books by this author.

  • Somewhere South of Here
  • Eddie’s Bastard
  • and others

Who Knew?

During the German, then the Russian invasions of Poland in 1939, it is estimated that about twenty per cent of the Polish population were killed.

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