…. I read something analogous to my own life in Masztalerz’s story. Once, at two in the morning, drinking whiskey after sake after beer with my own very harsh teacher, he said, “If only you had come here at sixteen, I could have made you into something worthwhile. You came here at twenty-three, already thinking you have a soul of your own. You are a waste of time.” Part of me was shocked and hurt, having yet again failed to measure up to his exacting standards; part of me gleefully thought, “Yeah! Hah, hah, muthafucka! I have a soul and there’s nothing you can do about it! You will never get me!” Masztalerz, in his various allusions to ‘poison’ throughout the book, a term Chiba himself used, is referring to Paracelus’ phrase, “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.” Masztalerz turned Chiba’s harsh teaching into medicine, though at times, it must have felt as bad as chemotherapy….
A Critical Engagement With Piotr Masztalerz’s THE KINGDOM OF DUST