Kelly's Blog

Review: Krakow by Sean Akerman

This piece was originally written for the Manhattan Book Review.

Akerman’s latest novel is a story about the end of a story: Krakow documents, with the frankness of two people who believe they are writing things nobody else will read, the slow disintegration of a two-year relationship that everyone around them long saw coming.

Akerman makes an otherwise generic story of how a couple met and fell apart more interesting by presenting it from both sides. The novel begins with the man’s perspective; halfway through, the woman takes over, filling in the gaps in his narrative. Apart from some minutiae, however, they reveal the same fears and regrets, the shared knowledge that what they have will soon end, and the feeling that perhaps it already has.

Krakow, in spite of its title, has little to do with Poland. The story unfolds in Brooklyn; both protagonists are Americans with ambiguous American roots. Krakow for them is four days of a magical holiday taken the previous spring, a memory from the days when they were so in love with each other nothing else mattered.

This short novel captures beautifully the twilight of a relationship: the doubts we have about our partners, about ourselves, and our pain at having to leave something so familiar yet wrong.

Rating: 4/5 ★

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