Tomáš Zmeškal

Love Letter in Cuneiform

Trans. Borbála Stanek-Csoma
Az ékírásos szerelmeslevél
Language: Hungarian
Title: Az ékírásos szerelmeslevél
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Publisher: Typotex Kiadó
Year: 2013
Pages: 344
Genre: Prose
Foreign rights
Pluh
W: http://www.pluh.org
E: info@pluh.org
Contacts
W: http://www.tomaszmeskal.cz
E: tomaszmeskal@tomaszmeskal.cz

Milostný dopis klínovým písmem (Love Letter in Cuneiform), Tomáš Zmeškal’s debut novel, is essentially a family chronicle. The basic plot framework is set in Czechoslovakia between the 1940s and 90s. The main narrative thread follows the story of Josef and Květa Černý. The novel isn‘t constructed in a chronological order, and hence we already enter the end of the sixties in the first chapter as we witness the wedding of their daughter Alice. At the end of the novel, we encounter Josef in the West Bohemian forests during the final days of WWII. This work is elaborately structured and buoyant at the same time. Several chapters contain stories from different periods and countries. These fantasies allude to the finality and, consequently, uniqueness of every human life. We find out that Josef met his wife before the war at seminars about the Hittite culture lectured by Professor Bedřich Hrozný who deciphered the Hittite language. Květa chooses Josef over their mutual friend Hynek who starts to work as a police investigator in the fifties. When Josef gets arrested and imprisoned, Květa approaches Hynek for help and advice…

Petr Pazdera Payne

Zmeškal’s debut novel received an esteemed Czech literary prize, the Josef Škvorecký Award, and was also nominated for the Magnesia Litera 2009 award in the prose category.

Hungarian summary here.

Information about the original Czech edition

Milostný dopis klínovým písmem

Other selected published translations (4)

List miłosny pismem klinowym Polish

Een liefdesbrief in spijkerschrift Dutch

Love Letter in Cuneiform English

Lettera d’amore in scrittura cuneiforme Italian

Language: Hungarian
Title: Az ékírásos szerelmeslevél
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Publisher: Typotex Kiadó
Year: 2013
Pages: 344
Genre: Prose
Foreign rights
Pluh