Why do the Poles leave Poland? Travel writer Ben Aitken booked a one-way ticket to Poznan to find out. This account of his year is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country.
Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament.
Travel writer Ben Aitken moved to Poland in 2016 to understand why the Poles were leaving. He booked the cheapest flight he could find, to a place he had never heard of - Poznan. This candid, funny and off-beat book is the account of his year in Poland, as an unlikely immigrant.
Between peeling potatoes and boning fish, Ben spent time on the road travelling the country. He missed the bus to Auschwitz; stayed with a dozen nuns near Krakow; was offered a job by a Eurosceptic farmer and went to Gdansk to learn how Solidarity rose and communism fell.
This is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country, challenging stereotypes that Poland is a grey, ex-soviet land, and revealing a diverse country, rightfully proud of its colourful identity.
Ben Aitken was born under Thatcher, grew to 6ft then stopped, and is an Aquarius. He is the author of Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island (2015), which was featured in the Guardian, The Times and on BBC Radio, and described by the Manchester Review as a 'poignant comment on the state of the nation' and a 'highly accomplished homage'. In 2016 Aitken moved to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. This book is the fruit of that unlikely migration.