BookList. 96.13 (March 1, 2000): p1195.
Kristine Huntley

In this first novel, the young protagonist and narrator, who is never named, journeys from childhood to adulthood, with cold war-era Poland as the backdrop. He tells of his never-ending quest for glory during his school days. He starts a jazz band and then a theater troupe, but the perfect moment that he seeks eludes him. When a new, beautiful headmistress comes to his school, he falls madly in love with her and makes it his purpose to find out everything he can about her. He begins with basic things, such as her address and phone number, but soon he begins to research her past, and, in doing so, discovers more than he ever dreamed, not only about her, but about himself as well. Through this quest, he finds direction and purpose in his life. Though numerous digressions sometimes take away from the flow of the novel, the narrator's lively and passionate voice keeps the reader engaged. The only other detraction is the untranslated French throughout the text, but overall, this is an impressive debut.
YA/M: Slow-paced, elusive coming-of-age story. KS.