Marek Šindelka


Trans. Doris Kouba
Der Fehler
Der Fehler
Residenz Verlag, 2018, 280 pp
Language: German
Genre: Literary fiction
ISBN: 9783701716944
Foreign rights
Goodreads rating
72% (Rated by 199 users)

A multifaceted work that mixes and mashes together a variety of genres and styles to create a heady concoction of crime story, horror story, ecological revenge fantasy, and Siberian shamanism. Nothing is what it seems. What appears to be human is actually a shell occupied by an alien spirit, or demon, and what appears to be an unassuming plant is an aggressive parasite that harbors a poisonous substance within, or manifests itself as an assassin, a phantom with no real substance who pursues his victims across Europe and through a post-apocalyptic Prague ravaged by floods. The blind see, and the seeing are blind. Plants behave like animals, and animals are symbionts with plants. Through these devices, Šindelka weaves a tale of three childhood friends, the errant paths their lives take, and the world of rare plant smuggling — and the consequences of taking the wrong plant — to show the rickety foundation of illusions on which our relationship to the environment, and to one another, rests. It is a world of aberrations, anomalies, and mistakes.

(Synopsis from the English edition)


“Think Orlean’s The Orchid Thief on acid. It’s all kinds of funky […] Šindelka’s world of ‘aberrations, anomalies, and mistakes’ feels unnervingly timely, and is enormously fun in the bargain”

—M. Bartley Seigel, Words without Borders

“The plant world constitutes a specific milieu in the novel and recalls [Michal] Ajvaz’s The Other City, which is visible only to those who wish to see it”

—Petr Vaněk, iLiteratura

Aberrant by Marek Šindelka is a brilliantly written and ingeniously constructed novel […] when finished the reader is left with a liberating feeling of catharsis befitting the dramas of antiquity and medieval legends.”

Czech Radio

Information about the original Czech edition


Other selected published translations (4)

Hiba Hungarian

Грешка Bulgarian

Aberrant English

Klimaatverdriet Dutch

Language: German
Title: Der Fehler
Place: Austria
Publisher: Residenz Verlag
Year: 2018
Pages: 280
Genre: Literary fiction
Foreign rights