Jiří Hájíček follows his literary investigation of the Czech village of the past with a novel set in the present. Zbyněk, a land administrator, meets a former love he hasn’t seen for many years, in order to help her with an apparently simple property-related problem. Having returned to the country village in which he was born and grew up, Zbyněk is gradually apprised of the unclear circumstances of a land dispute; at the same time he becomes embroiled in personal and marital crisis. He struggles with insomnia, loses his way in the countryside and cadastral maps, while a crazy 18th-century rustic aviator hovers above him like an apparition. A turning point is reached when Zbyněk goes into battle with his face covered in war paint so as “not to wake up as someone else one day”.
“The Rainstick is one of the most powerful prose works of the year”
— Radim Kopáč, MF Dnes
“[Hájíček] has written a novel which escapes from the present into the realm of intimacy, but this doesn’t affect its vision — from there it can observe the present in a disturbing light. This is what makes The Rainstick one of the most remarkable Czech texts written in recent years.”
— Vít Schmarc, Respekt
“The conclusion of The Rainstick will reverberate in the reader for a long time. Hájíček is an exceptional storyteller”
— Ivan Hartman, Hospodářské noviny