Artist, poet and novelist, one of the most distinctive Czech authors of recent years. He was the recipient of the Revolver revue prize (2001) and the Magnesia Litera for prose (2009). His books have been published abroad and his French volumes are particularly important. He was born on 28 July 1948.
He graduated in chemistry, followed by work in a research institute and then as a medicine inspector. He had already begun writing poetry by the 1980s. He made his debut with the novella Album (Mladá fronta, 1991), which was followed by the novella Nové lázně (New Spas, Mladá fronta, 1992). He wrote a book for younger readers called Autobus a Andromeda with the subtitle malostranské mystérium (The Bus and Andromeda: Little Quarter Mystery, Kdo je kdo, 1995). One of Matoušek’s major works is the “fat” novel Ego (Torst, 1997). Academic Vladimír Novotný wrote that it is a “Hyper-reflexive probe into the interior of the narrator. His sensitive intellect penetrates into the narrative of the main character’s dramatic life from November 1980 to July 1981, involving specific events from the lives of Prague’s artists and intellectuals.” This was followed by the short-story collection Mezi starými obrazy (Among Old Pictures, Votobia, 1999) and a collection of his older poetry called Poezie (Poetry, Triáda, 2000). Another of Matoušek’s major works is the large (almost 700 page) novel Spas (Triáda, 2001). “In the text, where the main character Sírius Demek is confronted by his surroundings, we follow the lives of his wife, lover, children and the main character himself. We are witness to the conflict between the overly sensitive inner world of the main character and the world around him. In place of dialogue we follow two worlds that have difficulty in connecting, which are filled with misunderstanding and alienation. Demek, who should have a role as a non-participating observer in these events, is instead the main actor,” wrote Petr Kotrla about the book for the magazine Týdeník Rozhlas.
2009 saw the publication of Matoušek’s novel Oslava (Celebration, Revolver revue, 2009), for which he was awarded the Magnesia litera for best prose of the year. Jaroslav Formánek wrote about the book for the weekly magazine Respekt that, “The title of Ivan Matoušek’s new book, Oslava, evokes something other than the last months, weeks and days of an eighty-four-year-old man, whose existence is inexorably drawing to a close due to a malignant disease. The writer examines this journey using three different devices: the main character’s brief diary entries, his son Martin’s notes and memories from this period, and an astonishing commentary made up of different voices, offering the reader such a large and fertile field of reflections on life that it sends your head spinning – just as at a wild celebration.” Matoušek’s opus differs from his previous work due to its melancholic reconciliation – there are no erotic or ironic levels here, only sadness and nostalgia.
Matoušek developed a project for the magazine Revolver revue called Jedna věta (One Sentence, RR, 2010), where each day he wrote one sentence into his diary for the year 2009.
The novel Adepti (Novices, Triáda, 2009) is about people eternally searching: “Adepti is a book which is populated by a far larger number of actors, and a text which is more extensive and polythematic. Nevertheless, even in this novel the end of life (mainly in the form of suicide) is one of the recurrent themes. It develops in connection with the motif of the elixir of eternal youth, and by extension in connection with the process of heightened devotion pursued by the titular heroes – new-age alchemists secretly working on a Great Work,” explained the Czech studies academic Petr Hrtánek.
The belles-lettres essay Autor Quijota (Author Quixote, Triáda, 2014) provides an analysis of Cervantes’ universal work.