Magdaléna Platzová

The Attempt

Torst, 2013, 210 pp
Language: Czech
Genre: Historical fiction, Prose
ISBN: 9788072154579
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The past: In 1892, a Russian anarchist, Andrey, murdered a Pittsburgh entrepreneur. After many years in prison, he left for Soviet Russia to quickly sober up, leave the country and become an important figure in global anarchism. The present: A Czech historian and journalist, Jan, arrives in New York to seek the truth. The reason is that his friend Josef, fascinated by Andrey’s personality, discovers that Jan’s grandmother met the revolutionary and that in fact he was Jan’s real grandfather. Jan subsequently meets the relatives of the murdered entrepreneur and encounters the ideas of the contemporary leftist intellectuals about a just arrangement society. Using the two storylines (and slight scepticism), the author reflects upon “dreaming of a better future”, including the Occupy Wall Street movement. Magdalena Platzová (born in 1972) is a novelist and journalist who lived in the US for several years and currently lives in France. The Attempt is her sixth book.


“[…] a powerfully distilled meditation on the meaning of freedom, a ferocious complexity lurking beneath its smooth and hypnotically readable surface.”

— Emma Garman, Words Without Borders

“A vivid reconstruction of the life of Andrei B. and Louise G., their deportation, radicalization, and enduring love. Between this and 2014’s Aaron’s Leap, Platzová is on a roll, telling rich stories of European history and the 20th century’s cumbrous fallout.”

Publishers Weekly

“Platzová demonstrates an understanding of anarchy and has a remarkable ability to explain it without dumbing it down. Despite its US setting, The Attempt is very much a Czech novel with Czech sensibilities and references cover to cover.”

— Virginia Parobek, World Literature Today

“Masterful. . . . In the tradition of Prus, Kundera, and Vonnegut . . . [Platzová’s] writing style is varied, sparing, insightful, and at times nothing short of poetic. Enthusiastically recommended.”

— Jackie Drohan, Historical Novels Review

Selected published translations (1)

The Attempt English

Language: Czech
Title: Anarchista
Place: Praha
Publisher: Torst
Year: 2013
Pages: 210
Genre: Historical fiction, Prose
Foreign rights