A detective story, essay and mockingly comic accusation of the male obsession with the female body by one of the most celebrated contemporary Czech authors.
The body of a wealthy middle-aged businessman is found in his luxury villa in Prague. Initially nothing suggests foul play but the police have their doubts about the cause of this strange death. In the course of his tireless investigation, a perceptive policeman is led to a mysterious house near Prague’s Petřín hill inhabited by three extraordinary elderly women: a yoga instructor, a filmmaker and a teacher of creative writing. While the old ladies are away, the policeman sneaks into their house and in the basement discovers a vast archive of documents dating back to World War II. What connects the murder case with the three women and their treasure trove documenting thousands of cases of rape and abuse?
The main characters of this novel are three, or perhaps four, women – educated, bold and devoted to a higher justice by which the original duality of victim and perpetrator is lost.
Read an English excerpt in The Guardian here.
“Disguised as a crime mystery set in Prague and mixing fact and fiction, ‘A Contribution to the History of Joy’ is a passionate indictment of all forms of violence against women everywhere, spanning the past 70 years of history.”
—Asymptote Editors, The Guardian
“After finishing A Contribution to the History of Joy, the reader is overcome by a desire to thank the author.”