This haunting novel of Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian partisans in German-occupied eastern Poland during World War II (originally published in Poland as Czarny Potok in 1954) tells a story of wartime resistance against overwhelming odds. The partisans are hunted by the Germans in a bleak landscape of forests and fields, fighting for survival in a natural environment already hostile to them.
The narrative proceeds in a series of episodic revelations, told in short spurts by one of the participants. In charged, lyrical prose, Buczkowski evokes a hallucinatory atmosphere that brings blurred events into focus with nightmarish immediacy. In these animal conditions men and women are again and again brought up against fearful moral dilemmas. Some break down, others manage to preserve their integrity and dignity, even at the price of their lives.