Witold Rybczynski's parents and grandparents were a thriving, cultured family in prewar Warsaw, then a sophisticated European city. With the onset of war, their world fell apart. His mother and father made separate escapes, reuniting against many odds on a ship bound for Scotland from Marseilles.
That people can lose everything, overcome stunning odds to survive, remake themselves in a foreign country, learn a new language and culture, and then do it again is extraordinary. My Two Polish Grandfathers is a testament to the boundaryless world of art, architecture, and music -- which can be transported from one country to another -- and clear affirmation of Rybczynski's own path toward becoming an architect and one of today's most original thinkers.
Beautifully written, thoughtful, and extraordinarily subtle, this riveting work offers a rare glimpse into the development of Rybczynski's educated outsider's eye and is a tribute to a European generation that has helped to define postwar American culture.