Published in Poland after World War II, this collection of concentration camp stories show atrocious crimes becoming an unremarkable part of a daily routine. Prisoners eat, work, sleep and fall in love a few yards from where other prisoners are systematically slaughtered. The will to survive overrides compassion, and the line between the normal and the abnormal wavers, then vanishes. Borowski, a concentration camp victim himself, understood what human beings will do to endure the unendurable.
Together, these stories constitute not only a masterpiece of Polish – and world – literature but stand as cruel testimony to the level of inhumanity of which man is capable.