Sandstone Press

The Tailor of Inverness by Matthew Zajac

RRP: £8.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781908737458
Publication Date: 18/07/2013
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The Tailor of Inverness

Matthew Zajac

The Tailor of Inverness is a story of journeys, of how a boy who grew up on a farm in Galicia (Eastern Poland, now Western Ukraine) came to be a tailor in Inverness. His life spanned most of the 20th century. His story is not straightforward. He was taken prisoner by the Soviets in 1939 and forced to work east of the Urals, then freed in an amnesty after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. He then joined the thousands of Poles who travelled to Tehran, then Egypt, to be integrated into the British Army, fighting in North Africa and Italy. He was then resettled in Britain in 1948, joining his brother in Glasgow. This is the story he told.

Matthew Zajac

Matthew Zajac portrait

Matthew Zajac grew up in Inverness and studied drama at Bristol University. He has worked as an actor for 30 years, appearing in theatres throughout the UK, and in numerous film, TV and radio...

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‘Matthew Zajac's breathtaking investigation of his father s mysterious past has taken him into the darkest corners of Central Europe s 20th century history. Out of a merely curious son develops a forensic investigator who peels back the lies hiding truths not just about Nazism and Stalinism but also the puzzling but energetic mendacity of his own father. Zajac s winning personality, however, turns what might have been a sustained exploration of pessimism into a revelatory and uplifting examination of self, family and national identity. Matthew s final discovery is heart-stopping and sincerely moving. This book ploughs a parallel furrow to The Hare with Amber Eyes.’
-Misha Glenny

‘Mesmerising and lyrical.’
-Annie Brown, Sunday Mail

‘Matthew Zajac has seamlessly gathered subtle patterns of narrative and worked them into a vivid, rare and elegant whole. I was transfixed by a story as compelling, mutable and uncomfortable as truth must sometimes be. This is a brave and unforgettable work that will leave your mind spinning as you contemplate the yarns that make up your own sense of identity.’
-Kevin MacNeil, A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde

‘Zajac slowly peels back the layers of half truths and lies to discover that his father's mysterious life was far more complicated than the simple picture that had been presented to him as a young boy. The author brings to life brilliantly the effects that the war had on his own family and the way that it fractured their lives forever.”’
-The Scottish Field

‘A wonderful storyteller . . . part travelogue, part history, part biography and, at times deeply moving, this is a real page-turner. ’
-The Press and Journal

‘His father's recordings hid the truth. That is what makes this book compelling.’
-The Scotsman

‘Engrossing . . . written with tremendous affection. ’
-Alastair Mabbot, The Herald

‘Zajac's account of his father's past makes riveting reading, as he tells of his life on a farm in Poland, his capture by the Soviets in 1939, his release and integration into the British Army and his eventual settling in Glasgow in 1948, joining his brother. How he became a tailor in Inverness is the culmination of an incredible story as the author's thorough investigation bears fruit.’
-The Scots Magazine