Brilliantly written short stories about the thin boundary of normality with great wicked humour.
The eleven short stories in this volume, focusing on the phenomenon of disgust and loathing, mercilessly reveal our wrongs, simple-mindedness and the nastiness we do to ourselves and others. The author creates parables from the animal kingdom with unique, refined language, a sophisticated solitary style and biting humour, as well as a fine sense for the sound of words, and leads the reader to the realisation that nothing fictitious is strange enough to be stranger than the world we live in. Our arduous attempts to survive and discreetly integrate into the world, noble wretchedness and malicious kindness are at once sad, touching and ridiculous. The author brilliantly evokes numerous emotions simultaneously and shows that the ambivalence of human living is unpleasantly natural. Just as in her previous book Nícení (Incitement), in White Animals Are Very Often Deaf, Ivana Myšková also explores the many different forms of truth: sincerity, veracity, authenticity. Hiding and the reluctance to truly share oneself with the world are viewed as a creeping lifestyle disease. The verbal creatures in these clearly shaped stories with punch-lines and strong plots, as well as carefully built narrative twists create a truly decadent reading experience.
“Although most of the texts are introspective, the author works skilfully and often quite uncompromisingly with the characters and the situations into which she gets them. […] the reader is reminded of the storytelling masters of the 1960s, namely Julio Cortázar, and the current short-story star, Alice Munro.”
—Pavel Mandys, Hospodářské noviny
“The author’s style is polished; not a single word seems unnecessary or uncertain. Clearly outlined themes emerge from the plots without the prose ever becoming simplistic. She is able to connect the unique with the universal.”
—Marek Jančík, iLiteratura
About the author
Ivana Myšková (b. 1981) ranks among the stars of the young generation of Czech prose writers. She graduated in creative writing and media communication from the Literary Academy in Prague. She worked as a radio cultural editor and now is a magazine editor. In 2007, she debuted with her radio play Odpoledne s liliputem (Afternoon with a Lilliputian) and in 2012, she published her novella Nícení (The Inflaming), for which she was nominated for the Czech Book Award and Josef Škvorecký Award. In 2017, she published a collection of short stories entitled Bílá zvířata jsou velmi často hluchá (White Animals Are Very Often Deaf), in which she explores disgust and squeamishness with a scientific meticulousness and sarcasm.
Read an excerpt
The Woman with the Frog English