His grandfather was friends with Jaroslav Hašek and was called Úvalský – hence the epithet. He says of himself that he is the batman of literature, whatever that means. He debuted with the collection Nářez brouků na palouku (Sliced Beetles in a Meadow, Krásné nakladatelství, 1994), which was brought out by his own publishing house. This was followed by Naivní román (Naive Novel) and Psí roky (Dog Years) – which are registered by the publishing house but do not have an official ISBN code – and the “chinwagging novel” Poslední bourbon (The Last Bourbon, KN, 1996) about a publisher of poetry who hits rock bottom and just can’t seem to bounce back.
The novel Zabrisky (Petrov, 1999) depicts the fortunes of a writer who personally has no need to communicate anything to the world and therefore lets himself be hired by others who long for fame but are not able to “write it” for themselves. Fortified by pastis and various kinds of pills, he writes texts to order – until the fateful day when a girl moves into the neighbourhood and a mysterious game gets underway on the internet. As critic Ondřej Bezr writes, “Each seemingly self-contained detail ultimately reveals its significance in the spider’s web of this cleverly thought-out story, which in spite of the tragic outcome leaves the reader not only with the feeling of having been entertained but also with the pleasant discovery that a detached point of view and a lightness of touch are not absent from youthful Czech literature, without the reader having to hide the cover in embarrassment.”
This was followed by a highly absurd novel about totalitarian Czechoslovakia, Brambora byla pomeranč mého dětství (Potatoes Were the Oranges of My Childhood, Petrov, 2002), and the prose work Ženy, Havel, hygiena (Petrov, 2003), made up of 72 micro-stories about women written with a light touch. The main character Ferdinand Havel has a desire to remain single, so he breaks up with women, but each time he regains his freedom he has a desire to celebrate and confirm it – by chatting up a new woman.
Vaňek-Úvalský’s latest book is a detective-style farce, Žena se nedá loupat jako banán (A Woman Can’t Be Peeled Like a Banana, Krásné nakladatelství, 2012).