A story set in Taiwan about the search for truth and one’s place in history.
A Taiwanese man called Bao strives to keep a firm hold over every aspect of his life. He has a wonderful career, children at prestigious schools, and he doesn’t even seem to be troubled by his dysfunctional relationship with his ex-wife, Sedrika. In Taiwan the main thing is not to lose face – no matter what. However, all that suddenly changes when Sedrika falls ill with an incurable disease and their son, David, decides to meet his uncle Tae, who Bao has apparently fallen out with over an inheritance. From that moment on, the layers of unspoken family grievances and lies gradually begin to peel away, fundamentally altering the lives of all those around Bao. Nothing is as it seems and nothing turns out the way the protagonists in the novel would have wanted. In the character of Bao and the story of his family, we see a reflection of the fate of a sorely tried country and ancestral traumas reaching far back into the past. The novel Black Tongues shows the fragility of our ideas about values such as truth, duty, honour and love, as well as how difficult it is to express ourselves outwardly in a genuine and honest manner.
“Dita Táborská has done a superb job of handling the story and characters, but also the Taiwanese setting and the depiction of an Eastern mentality that embraces community over individuality and places the traditional, religiously reinforced framework of collective action above direct personal experience.”
— Lidové noviny
“The novel reads extremely well and – more importantly – the characters and the events they experience are believable.”
— Czech Television
About the author:
Dita Táborská (1981) graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. She has worked as a freelancer for Czech Television and Czech Radio as well as in the political and press division of the Israeli embassy, and in 2009 she joined the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2009 to 2012 she worked at the Czech embassy in Ulaanbaatar, and since 2018 she has been with the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei. In 2017 she published her first novel, Malinka, which deals with the subject of a child being adopted into a family. This was followed by the book Běsa (2018), which shares a temporal and thematic framework with Malinka. In 2021 she wrote her third novel, Černé jazyky (Black Tongues) which was inspired by her time in Taiwan. She is married and has three sons.