One of the later stories from The Nine Lives Of Michal Piech
. Directly precedes Krovt
, and is actually the main story to which Krovt
is a small coda. The name literally means Woman's Summer, and is the Polish version of "Indian summer" (unusable as a direct translaton in English because of the allusion to the real world). It is also a type of spider's webbing seen on the breeze in late September.
Written in Dublin in 2001-02, but the original drawings were lost. Resurrected as a longer story in the summer of 2010 and refocussed somewhat from centring around the Nowozyce school to the collective farm headquarters at Dwor (Manor) Nowozycki. As of writing, probably going to remain as a comic story but could be written as a novel - the school chapters could be expanded better with words rather than pictures since black ink for innumerable pictures of chalkboards is expensive.
Michal Piech is firmly established as the chairman of the new collective farm. He and his wife Zofia run the village with a firm but fair interpretation of established communist ideology. The consequences of a past exchange between him and the pre-revolutionary village magistrate have a sad impact on the present, ensnaring Marysia Wroblowa, the widow of Piech's best friend killed just prior to the revolution, in a moment of folly. Zofia pleads her case before her unmoved husband.
Meanwhile, the wife of the local agronomist takes advantage of Zofia's anger at the arrest of her brother Jozek to try and sow the seeds of discord between Piech and his wife.
- Ambition Is Evil - Beata Mlodziewska and her desires to see her husband elevated above Piech and his wife.
- Author Tract - extensive proselytising of the usefulness of learning foreign languages (the author herself knows Polish very well and has passing knowledge of at least three other Eastern European languages). Excised in the 2010 draft, ways might be found to bring the school scene back in a more detailed novel and thus avoid a filibuster while retaining the original message.
- Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend - the whole story is a discussion of this trope. Zofia is angry that Michal has arrested her brother, and subsequently asks him to intervene in Marysia's case. Michal refuses, given his assertion that justice should remain justice and that playing favourites would undermine the whole of his authority as chairman of the collective farm. But godsdammit, when Zofia is arrested herself...
- Meaningful Name - Nowozyce - from nowe zycie, "new life". It's 100% deliberate, referring to Piech's fresh start after the events of Achava. Somewhat justified, as the village's back-story was engineered as an overflow village when a wealthy peasant achieved the status of landowner and founded his own community (in the manner of, say, Port Sunlight or Bourneville, but in the country), and anyway the whole thing was meant to be a fantasy the original Michal Piech of "The Night" was having when reflecting on his near escape, so meaningful names were meant to be much more deliberate and obvious. But really that was just an in-universe attempt to justify a meaningful name and remove a reference to Holocaust "survivor" Benjamin Wilkomirski, with the help of a Polish friend, when the stories became much more of an attempt to write about Slavic culture rather than the Jewish experience.
- Given the previous events in canon, the name Wrobel/Wroblowa (Sparrow) was excised. Marysia is now Stefanska, after her husband's original first name.
- Meanwhile, in the Future - the exchange between Piech and the magistrate is the subject of the second chapter of the comic book story.
- Reign of Terror - when someone can be arrested for passing old coins in the mistaken belief they are still valid currency, you know you are in this situation.
- Survivors Guilt - Michal has a healthy dose of this in most of the versions. He doesn't recognise it as such, because it isn't really in the communists' vocabulary, since everything is now officially perfect, and he has Motylecki arrested for questioning whether he regrets living through the war in which many of his friends and contemporaries died and which temporarily wiped whole cities off the map.