Review: All Backs Were Turned by Marek Hłasko, Tomasz Mirkowicz (Translation)

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All Backs Were Turned, set in Israel, is a story of sexual passion, violence, and betrayal, in classic hardboiled prose.

The narrative is primarily dialogue, you feel as if you’re watching a screenplay. The tension builds as anger, pressure along with failing to escape ones past hits a violent apex. Tourist Ursula incites ‘accidental mayhem’ causing lives to be forever changed.

The characters all troubled in some form, although with dialogue maximized the characters lack three-dimensionality. Their back story’s unravel slowly creating uneasiness as acts, secrets, deep seeded wounds are disclosed. Momentum builds as the players and plot are set in motion.

Troublemakers cast off to the remote edge of the Sinai in the town of Eilat pre-Israel 1967, bear the 140 degree heat as a new life is futilely eked out only to cause strife within the community as competition stirs the pot. People are on edge as the unmistakable strain hangs in the air. Relationships teeter on the brink of combustion in turbulent times.

The ending is brutal as Hlasko viciously presents to the peruser. Hardcore glimpse into the division of two polar opposite friends snared in deceptions net. Brilliant storytelling through rebel misfit eyes.

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•Paperback, 140 pages
•Published December 9th 2014 by New Vessel Press (first published August 1991)
•ISBN13: 9781939931122

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