A Date with Kosinski
Being James Bond is every man’s dream. The beautiful women, fancy cars, dangerous journeys, and beautiful women. Many men would love to be in his place where all the danger and excitement take place. We don’t have that capability to become an international spy, but in the novel, Blind Date by Jerzy Kosinski, we are exposed to a life similar to that of James Bond. He goes through secret negotiations. Jerzy Kosinski’s use of words greatly contributes to the novel’s excellence. He forces the reader to imagine everything that happens in the novel using very descriptive words and phrases. The main character of the novel is George Levanter. He poses as an investor and a playboy. Blind Date is in fact almost rated X novel because Levanter makes love to many women through his whole life, all of which are described in detail in the novel. Kosinski writes Levanter as a secret man and many times never revealing who he really is inside. What’s interesting about the novel is that Kosinski and Levanter share many things in common. Kosinski’s life and memories are scattered throughout the book giving the reader a window to see his life through the eyes of Levanter.
Jerzy Kosinski was born in Lodz, Poland in 1933. Kosinski was separated from his parents shortly after Nazi Germany’s invasion of Lodz, and the fear and violence that he experienced during World War II left a scar on his soul. Shortly after the war, Kosinski was reunited with his family. Kosinski studied sociology and political science at the University of Lodz. At the age of 24, he left his homeland and established a new culture in the United States, where he taught himself the English language in 4 months.
Kosinski’s life truly is present in the novel. He writes about moving, being out of place, and looking for love, all of which describes Levanter. After moving to the United States, Kosinski started to write and publish novels and sociology books. He is known for his vivid imagination and his use of words to show the reader what he writes about. Robert E. Ziegler says: Kosinski’s work is a fictional construct, a textual triumph of the imagination . . .. He is a master of words, always picking the right ones to make the reader experience the book instead of just reading it. An author who shows me the story through writing is much more interesting than a book that doesn’t. The novel is filled with both excitement and imagination.
Kosinski plays with the words and produces a great novel. In the novel Blind Date, he explains the life of Levanter, an investor, who invests his time and energy in dealing with life. Levanter experiences many things we would never think of doing. From the beginning to the end of the story, the reader is exposed to sex, negotiations, and more sex. Levanter makes loves to six different women in the novel including one episode with his mother. Levanter is a man who loves women and loves to be around friends. His friend Romarkin had been a friend with him since he was a young man. They met at the International Youth for Peace Festival and hit it off. Levanter and Romarkin had worked together . . .sponsored and organized by the government party (Kosinski 40). From that point on, he was closely attached to him. Together they attended political meetings and enjoyed casual sex with a robot.
The novel has no real plot line. It is a novel about his experiences in life and how he deals with them. Levanter is a very secret man. He loves to manipulate the minds of others and control them. In one instance, he is out skiing in the Alps one morning when he catches sight of a woman struggling to make her way down the slope. The three men with her pay no attention to her. After taking a picture of the whole thing, Levanter then helps the lady up and begins to question her. He discovers that the woman was an inexperienced skier. Levanter advises her out of danger and then threatens the men that he will develop the pictures and expose them to the Authorities of ValPina.
‘This young lady will walk all the way down, and you will carry her skis. I’ll be around to make sure that nothing happens to her. It she is hurt, I have taken enough photographs to have all three of you arrested and charged by the authorities in ValPina’ (Kosinski 28).
Levanter shows his that he helps whenever people are in need. This woman was also beautiful and desperate for help. Surely enough, Levanter came to her rescue and saved her from the 3 other skiers. Levanter is not always heroic. Levanter travels many times in the book. He goes to the U.K. and the United States. While in the United States, Levanter goes through a state-paid program, Youth Movement. Here Levanter meets Oscar, a 17 year-old rapist. Levanter was the first one to know about the twelve victims that were raped by Oscar. Oscar carefully teaches the art of raping to Levanter who, at the age of 15, uses the technique on some beautiful longhaired blond in the woods. The details in the chapter horrifying and disgusting. Word by word, Kosinski carefully describes the whole ordeal. Sad painful, Levanter only refers to her as Nameless.
The narrator Levanter and author Kosinski recall the life and death of their mutual friend Woytek.
The memories are painful, an attempt to preserve in text and release from memory the slaughter of Woytek Frykowski at the hands of the Manson Family in 1969, says Paul Lilly, Jr.
Kosinski uses Levanter to express the emotions he went through. Tough to deal with, Levanter cannot face his pain.
The death of his friends was incomprehensible to Levanter. He tried to make himself believe that they had all died in a crash in a sports car or were buried in a house in one of the landslides so common in the area (Kosinski 182).
For the first time in the novel, Levanter expresses deep feelings for another person. After the killings, Levanter is restless and alone. Just like Levanter, Kosinski must have felt devastated and angry. Levanter never spoke of the incident to anybody and left it deep in his mind, always trying to forget the horrible day.
The title of the novel carries significant importance in the development of the story. Kosinski cleverly chooses the title to sum up, in two words, Levanter’s whole philosophy of life. Joseph McLellan says:
It is a warning that, given the staggering proportion of violence in our society, life is, at best, uncertain-we might not live through the very next moment, our next blind date, so to speak.
Blind Date refers to Levanter’s life: he has a Blind date with life. Levanter wakes up each morning not knowing how the day will turnout. Levanter goes through life not knowing whom he will meet of where he will end up by the end of the day. In one instance, when Levanter was a young adult, his father was ill and was hospitalized. Not knowing whether his father was to live or die, Levanter waited each day for the phone to ring on word of his father’s condition. One morning the phone rang and Levanter was in his room undressed and his mother in the shower. As the phone rang, not enough time to dress, Levanter got up and ran to the phone. His mother, thinking that Levanter was unaware that the phone was ringing, got out of the shower and ran to the phone. There, mother and son saw each other, naked. One thing led to another and for 20 years, they had a sexual relationship together. This was a very awkward moment for Levanter and he kept his feelings for her bottled up and set it behind his mind. Levanter undergoes several experiences in his life, all of which build Levanter’s character.
Kosinski develops an interesting man, a very secret and clever speaking man. George Levanter is a small investor goes through life experiencing life itself. Like James Bond, he meets powerful figures and negotiates deals with them and meets many different beautiful women who he has sex with. Levanter is a very unique individual. He travels around the world and something always exciting happens. Kosinski, a Polish writer, uses Levanter as a way to give the reader a view of his life. Kosinski writes in text some of his experiences that he went through like the Manson killings. Blind Date is significant because Levanter, and everyone else, has a blind date with life, not knowing what will come up in the future. Moreover, Kosinski writes the novel in a very descriptive manner. Everything in the novel is clearly explained in great detail. As said in his book It was nothing but an old Polaroid snapshot: no negative, photographer unknown, camera thrown away (Kosinski 182). Everything remembered is in the mind of the reader.
Paul R. Lilly, Jr. Vision and Violence in the Fiction of Jerzy Kosinski. The Literary Review Spring 1992: 389-400. Rpt. In the Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Hall. Vol. 53. Detroit: Gale Research. 1984. 223.
Robert E. Ziegler. The Romance of Terror and Jerzy Kosinski. The University of North Carolina Press 1998: 177-267. Rpt. In the Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Hall. Vol. 53. Detroit: Gale Research. 1984. 216.
Joseph McLellan. Playing at Life Book World-The Washington Post March 7, 1982: 7. Rpt. In the Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Hall. Vol. 53. Detroit: Gale Research. 1984. 224.