Iva Pekárková

Iva Pekárková

Translator, journalist, novelist, blogger and taxi driver. Her books have been translated into English, German and Spanish. She was born in Prague on 15 February 1963.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
Roast Zebra (Pečená zebra) Mladá fronta 2015
Londonistan insights (Postřehy z Londonistánu) Mladá fronta 2015
Concrete (Beton) Mladá fronta 2014
Truck Stop Rainbows (Péra a perutě) Mladá fronta 2014 DE | EN
Leopardess (Levhartice) Mladá fronta 2013
Mork Gets His Multi-Pork out as Cultured Mindy Looks On (Multykulty pindy jedný český mindy) Millennium Publishing 2012
Small Black Varlata (Málo černý Varlata) Millennium Publishing 2010
Bell and then Chorale (Zvonek a pak chorál) Millennium Publishing 2010
The SCARZ (Gang zjizvených) Millennium Publishing 2010
I Want to be a Taxi Driver (Jaxi taksikařím) Millennium Publishing 2009
Elephants in the Dusk (Sloni v soumraku) Millennium Publishing 2008
Love in London (Láska v Londýně) Listen 2008
Love in New York (Láska v New Yorku) Listen 2006
Six Billion Americans (Šest miliard Amerik) Petrov 2005
Naidja / Stars in My Heart (Najdža / Hvězdy v srdci) Nakl. Lidové noviny 2003
The SCARZ (Gang zjizvených) Maťa 2002
To India, Where Else? (Do Indie kam jinam) Nakl. Lidové noviny 2001
Thirty-two Khwan (Třicet dva chwanů) Maťa 2000
My I. Q. (Můj I. Q.) Maťa 1999
Truck Stop Rainbows (Péra a perutě) Maťa 1998 DE | EN
The SCARZ (Gang zjizvených) Maťa 1998
My Life is Mine (interview with V. Ševela) (Můj život patří mně (rozhovor s V. Ševelou)) Melantrich 1998
Gimme the money (Dej mi ty prachy) Nakl. Lidové noviny 1996 DE | EN
The World is Round (Kulatý svět) Společnost J. Škvoreckého 1993 EN
Truck Stop Rainbows (Péra a perutě) Ivo Železný 1992 DE | EN
Truck Stop Rainbows (Péra a perutě) Sixty-Eight Publishers 1989 DE | EN
Roast Zebra
Pečená zebra
Postřehy z Londonistánu
Londonistan insights
Postřehy z Londonistánu
Beton
Concrete
Beton
Truck Stop Rainbows
Péra a perutě
Leopardess
Levhartice
Multykulty pindy jedný český mindy
Mork Gets His Multi-Pork out as Cultured Mindy Looks On
Multykulty pindy jedný český mindy
Small Black Varlata
Málo černý Varlata
Zvonek a pak chorál
Bell and then Chorale
Zvonek a pak chorál
Gang zjizvených
The SCARZ
Gang zjizvených
Jaxi taksikařím
I Want to be a Taxi Driver
Jaxi taksikařím
Sloni v soumraku
Elephants in the Dusk
Sloni v soumraku
Láska v Londýně
Love in London
Láska v Londýně
Láska v New Yorku
Iva Pekárková
Love in New York
Láska v New Yorku
Šest miliard Amerik
Six Billion Americans
Šest miliard Amerik
Najdža / Hvězdy v srdci
Naidja / Stars in My Heart
Najdža / Hvězdy v srdci
Gang zjizvených
The SCARZ
Gang zjizvených
Do Indie kam jinam
To India, Where Else?
Do Indie kam jinam
Třicet dva chwanů
Thirty-two Khwan
Třicet dva chwanů
Můj I. Q.
My I. Q.
Můj I. Q.
Truck Stop Rainbows
Péra a perutě
Gang zjizvených
The SCARZ
Gang zjizvených
Můj život patří mně (rozhovor s V. Ševelou)
My Life is Mine (interview with V. Ševela)
Můj život patří mně (rozhovor s V. Ševelou)
Gimme the money
Dej mi ty prachy
The World is Round
Kulatý svět
Truck Stop Rainbows
Péra a perutě
Truck Stop Rainbows
Péra a perutě
Praise
Pekarková is one of the finest young novelists to come out of what used to be called Czechoslovakia, and the unflinching portrait she offers [in The World is Round] of Eastern and Central European immigration is both timely and unique.
—Publishers Weekly starred review

In 1983, shortly before graduating from the Natural Sciences Faculty, she emigrated to the USA. Today she lives in London. Her various jobs have included working as a taxi driver in New York and in London, which has influenced her writing. She has written for Czech newspapers and magazines (she has stayed in the Czech Republic on and off since 1997) and has a successful blog. “Her move into exile gave rise to the major themes in the author’s work: the position and perspective of a foreigner, a person’s ‘multiple’ identities after leaving home, and the fundamental need to understand ‘the other’ (person, town, country, culture, events),” was how academic Vladimír Novotný characterized Pekárková’s work.

She made her literary debut with Péra a perutě (Truck Stop Rainbows, Sixty-Eight Publishers, Toronto, 1989, Czech Ivo Železný, 1992) about an idiosyncratic prostitute, which was followed by Kulatý svět (The World is Round, Společnost Josefa Škvoreckého, 1993), at the centre of which are the experiences from an Austrian refugee camp where Pekárková stayed after leaving communist Czechoslovakia. The novel Dej mi ty prachy (Gimme the Money, NLN, 1996) describes the attempts by poor women emigrants to find their place in a ‘promised land’. The author also describes the atmosphere in an immigrant ghetto in New York in a similarly ruthless manner in the novel Můj I.Q. (My I.Q., Maťa, 1999).

The novel Třicet dva chwanů (Thirty-two Khwan, Maťa, 2000) was inspired by the author’s stay in Thailand, and she also headed east with the book Do Indie, kam jinam (To India, Where Else? NLN, 2000). The author’s experiences in Nigeria were described in the book Najdža hvězdy v srdci (Naidja Stars in My Heart, NLN, 2003), and from Malaysia Pekárková wrote the book Džungle, tygři, jinovatka (Jungles, Tigers, Hoarfrost, Millennium Publishing, 2011). Šest miliard Amerik (Six Billion Americans, Petrov, 2005) presents the experiences of a ‘promised land’ which the tourists don’t see: “Six Billion Americans is an entertaining book, but at the same time it describes life in a country where the motto is – to borrow from the mathematician Jiří Matoušek – ‘it is the land of unrestricted possibilities and impossible restrictions,'” wrote Aleš Haman for Lidové noviny.

The short-story collections Láska v New Yorku (Love in New York, Listen, 2006) and Láska v Londýně (Love in London, Listen, 2008) describe hetero and homosexual love affairs, as well as motherly and sibling love.

Sloni v soumraku (Elephants in the Dusk, Millennium Publishing, 2008) is not just a strongly erotic book, but, as with a number of other books, it is possible to see an analysis of the contemporary world – there is hidden in sexual desire the need for love and physical contact, the need to find roots and fit in.

Her collection of blog contributions from 2008 and 2009 proved a success and was published as Jaxi taksikařím (I Want to be a Taxi Driver, Millennium Publishing, 2009). The annotation states that, “Her colleagues and passengers have inspired her to reflect on racism, age, youth education, narrow-mindedness, the desire for money and power, the environment and all the baggage we accumulate on a daily basis. She ingeniously gets to the root of the problem, partially holds up a mirror, partially provides an answer and then leaves the rest to the reader.”

Pekárková causes outrage among critics and some of her more staid readers with her simple, coarse style – the title of the book Multykulty pindy jedný český mindy (Mork Gets His Multi-Pork Out as Cultured Mindy Looks On, Milennium Publishing, 2012) comes from one vulgar contribution to a discussion on her blog.

The novella Levhartice (Leopardess, Mladá fronta, 2013) tells the story of a forty-year-old woman who has been disappointed in love and tries to put it behind her by going to England, where her journey leads idiosyncratically from the arms of various men into the arms of another culture.

The short-story collection, Beton (Concrete, Mladá fronta, 2014), was characterized by Jaroslav Soukup for iLiteratura.cz thus: “The author examines the cultural differences and relationships between members of both sexes without sentimentality or hypocritical correctness, but also without bias or condemnation of the individual character, who even during the most highly charged moments are always sinful and fallible human beings.”

Pekárková’s last book to date is Postřehy z Londonistánu (Reflections from Londonistan, Mladá fronta, 2015), where she currently lives.