„The Kowalski Journal“
- A slapstick comedy with half a million dead and a compulsory reader for future heads of states!
- Descriptions of serene African landscapes collide with scenes of brutality and horror. An African civil war is presented with the authenticity of the eyewitness. The "Eeny, meeny, miny, MO!"-monstrosity is perhaps, one of the most disturbing episodes in contemporary literature.
- Miss Alex Kowalski’s personal American-Dream has come true. (From a shy and oppressed child, she becomes a top CIA operative; and from a gas station attendant ‒ Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of the United States of America.) The catch is that part of her dream was a ghastly nightmare!
- K. Vangorske’s characters are neither good nor bad; they are merely life-sized guys lost in the complexity of conflicting interests. She has portrayed them with the touch of a true master.
- Miss Alex, as a character, will surely stay a milestone in world literature. At times she is highly controversial, self-mocking and acerbic. But the acrimony invested into her description of her artsy-fartsy sister surpasses anything recorded so far about “sisterly love”.
- After reading the Kowalski Journal the reader will acquire a better understanding not only of Africa but of the driving forces which determine American foreign policy.
In the region of hostile and uninhabited Galvanic Mountains there is a 100-mile-long razor wire fence and trigger-happy guards. The rumour says that in that rugged wilderness, there roams a gigantic boar with two hearts. One of the hearts is that of Colonel Ribeira, the “communist” dictator of Ebonyland.
The truth is that the Galvanic Mountains contain the world’s largest deposits of palladium, a precious metal indispensable in production of solid propellants for long range missiles. During a lull in the Cold War, in order to preserve the fragile strategic balance, the two superpowers committed themselves not to allow any exploitation of that mineral in Ebonyland.
However, after decades of mismanagement and corruption, the Ebonian regime faces collapse and Colonel Ribeira is forced to start secret negotiations with a controversial African-American, Congressman Williams, who intends to exploit palladium and offer it to Iraq and some other over ambitious Third World counties.
And as it might have been expected, Colonel Ribeira is assassinated.
After his death Ebonyland plunges into a bloody civil war. Two tribally formed factions compete in atrocities. They use child-warriors to burn villages, to kill, mutilate and rape.
A third more moderate group, led by a mysterious, self-styled general who calls himself Nka Nko, after a legendary African Prince, attracts the attention of the Secret Services of the two superpowers. The imminent collapse of the Soviet Union facilitates a political solution and after secret talks between the KGB and the CIA, America and Russia renew the secret treaty about non-exploitation of palladium and agree that General Nka Nko will be the best solution for Ebonyland, providing he proclaims the Galvanic Mountains an ecological zone.
Ebonyland enters calm waters.
However, four years later, presidential elections in the US bring a new wave of nervousness to Ebonyland. Since the Ebonian lobby in the States has the key position among African-Americans, both big parties transport their competition onto African soil. All that coincides with sharpening of political and matrimonial differences between General Nka Nko and his wife, the Vice President, Brigadier Titilayo Telaubu, who is the daughter of former Congressman Williams.
And then, in a huge explosion which destroys most of the West Wing of the Mildenport Castle President Nka Nko dies!
With that tragic incident Miss Alex Kowalski, American Ambassadress to Ebonyland, embarks on her own, private investigation of political and other circumstances which caused the assassination of the President. Without any doubt, she is the most qualified person for that task. Not only that her high office offers her a perfect insight into Ebonian affairs, but she was the President’s closest friend since the olden days when Nka Nko had merely been a warrant officer of the Ebonian Presidential Guards and she nothing more important than the accountant in the US Embassy. On top of that, during the Ebonian Civil War, Alex served in Ebonyland as the key CIA operative.
Alex writes her Account in the form of a diary. There she records not only current developments, but gradually unveils layers and layers of deposited traumas from her past. Sickened by the memories of the Civil War and confused daily by controversial demands from her Washington superiors, she appears arrogant, incoherent and unnecessarily emotional.
Miss Kowalski is a very complex character. Truth, justice and the American way are her cynosures. However, her biggest passion is painting but she refuses to admit that.
Alex keeps her journal for only fourteen days. During that short period of time predicaments crowd upon her. She appears to be personally involved in the assassination of the President; one of her key men has been murdered, another destroys a document of vital importance. Together with her second-in-command she shares a romantic dream which ends with an imperial hangover. She goes through such a wild, non-diplomatic confrontation with the President's widow, who has now been sworn in as a new Head of State, that she is compelled to resign. Hit men try to gun her down! She has a maddening reunion with her “darling sister” Becky, she witnesses the execution of the only man she trusted and finally she stumbles across the truth. Not only the truth about the astounding destiny of the “late” President but the truth about her own self.
-Gustav Kubrick, an old reprobate, supposed to be either a rogue KGB agent or an extra-terrestrial turned native;
-his beautiful and very playful African wife Hillary;
-Hillary’s brother, Jason Ponsonby WO2 of the Ebonian Guards, later to be known as General Nka Nko and the first democratically elected President of Ebonyland;
-a bevy of Jason's girlfriends: Elisabeth, a one-time maid in Kowalski's house; Petra, an administrative officer in the German Embassy; Scintilla, a lady in fish-frying business; Perdita Williams, aka Brigadier Titilayo Telaubu, who managed to marry him, and his latest love, Prudence, Elisabeth’s teenage daughter;
-Jerry Holms, her second-in-command; Abraham Holly, Henry Brooks and other “underlings” of the embassy;
-Oliver Cromwell, an Ebonian policeman and a CIA asset;
-Oleg, a fake priest and a KGB operative; Oleg’s superiors;
-Gordon Furness, a high CIA official and his boss David Schmeisser;
-Becky Walsky-Walska, a best selling authoress who happens to be Alex Kowalski’s “artsy-fartsy sister” and a close friend to the US President Richard 'Big Dick' Adamante;
-members of a Cuban medical team, soldiers, diplomats and inhabitants of “Beverly Hills”, the largest slum in Mildenport;
-and finally two four-hundred-year-old skeletons in the wardrobe of the Mildenport Castle.
All those characters are very alive (except for the skeletons, of course).
However, Alex Kowalski’s self-portrait makes her the most remarkable character of the novel and will surely stay as the most memorable. Alex is a giant.
Excerpt from the text
Alex Kovalski’s birthday: November 7th!
While we were driving towards the slum we looked like a motorcade. Jason was leading on his BMW, clearing the way from the crowd. The big limo glided in his wake. Our chauffeur was dignified and Oliver Cromwell was bursting with importance. We left the vehicles at the same place Jason had parked his motorbike the previous time we had come here and we dipped into the smells and noises of poverty. A school of boisterous children danced around. Jason trod first, Perdita and I followed while the driver and Corporal Cromwell were the last - the treasure trunk between them. The news of our arrival spread fast and soon we ran onto the Welcome Committee. No one else but Scintilla was in charge of it. She skipped and danced with joy, garbed in that cataract dress of hers which I had suspected to have been presented by Jason.
‘Brave offisah Jason! And Jason sistah, our White Ma! Hey, they come to see us. Jason sistah is my sistah.’