Michal Ajvaz

Empty Streets

Prázdné ulice
Language: Czech
Title: Prázdné ulice
Place: Brno
Publisher: Petrov
Year: 2004
Pages: 532
Genre: Prose
ISBN: 9788072272099
Awards
 2005 Jaroslav Seifert Prize
Foreign rights
Dana Blatná Literary Agency
W: http://www.dbagency.cz
E: blatna@dbagency.cz
Contacts
E: michalajvaz@seznam.cz
Goodreads rating
87.6% (Rated by 48 users)

The story is set in Prague in 1999. The narrator finds on a rubbish tip on the edge of the city an object whose function is unknown to him. It might be a tool, an emblem, a statue, even a letter from a strange alphabet. It transpires that the object is connected somehow with the mysterious disappearance of a young girl. The narrator searches for the girl while trying to work out the meaning of the unknown object; he feels sure that the object holds the key to the girl’s disappearance. His quest takes him to various places, including coffee bars, porter’s offices, stations and luxury villas of the nouveaux riches. He digs up several clues and hears talk which connects the object with the girl. The stories transport the reader to New York, an unnamed small town in France, the mountain resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, Greek islands in the Aegean, South America and Afghanistan. But still the clues do not form a meaningful whole …

Praise

“A remarkably creative, joyfully strange work”

— Ellen Elias-Bursac, Asymptote

“[…] the work is meticulously crafted. No tension is lost in the tangential rants of fleeting characters. As easy as it is to read through with rapt attention, this novel would definitely benefit from rereadings and re-examinations.”

Kirkus Reviews

Selected published translations (1)

Empty Streets English

Language: Czech
Title: Prázdné ulice
Place: Brno
Publisher: Petrov
Year: 2004
Pages: 532
Genre: Prose
Awards
 2005 Jaroslav Seifert Prize
Foreign rights
Dana Blatná Literary Agency