The story of an ageing pub brawler whose life is reduced to false mantras and empty rituals. An escalating plot, an engrossing narrative pace – and a finale that is, in its tragedy, actually funny. Short, simple sentences, brief paragraphs, the format of prose in verse. Vandam, the main character, likes to lecture others, particularly about things he himself does not know much about. He is a prisoner of numerous stereotypes inherited from his own family. If he wants to escape from this form of captivity, he betrays both others and himself. However, Jaroslav Rudiš is merciful to him, he portrays him sensitively and shows some understanding for his failure. Also, Vandam belongs to Rudiš’s gallery of runaways escaping their own shadows, outsiders and outlaws. Although National Avenue is a thoroughly dark and hopeless novella, at heart it is true, serious and topical.
More information in French here.
“National Avenue is an unrestrained, funny, brash, melancholic and brutal novel. […] Jaroslav Rudiš has written an excellent novel, which would also be perfect for a theatre adaptation.”
— Lerke von Saalfeld, Deutschlandfunk
“It is also a book about Europe today, a brilliant book, a very topical book.”
— Markus Lippold, n-tv.de
“When reading the book one experiences two extreme feelings: disgust and enthusiasm. The first is caused by the value system of the main character, his lifestyle and the space in which the plot of the novella is set. The second by the brilliance with which Rudiš captures it, the documentary-like way in which he described the wretchedness.”
— Klára Kubíčková, MF Dnes
Information about the original Czech edition
Other selected published translations (5)
Aleja Narodowa Polish
Avenida Nacional Spanish
Nemzeti sugárút Hungarian
Het volk boven Dutch