A complex story about loneliness and violence, interspersed with dreams and the possibility of hope in the form of love.
Helena Hrstková has written a homage to psychological novels and deals with horrors such as abuse, sex trafficking, the porn industry and murder, as well as the institutional treatment of violent behaviour, all interweaved with descriptions of dreams. Narrated from an unconventional perspective alternating between the second and third person from the position of the narrator, the prose addresses the novella’s protagonist, the outsider Igor. She comments on the characters’ behaviour and is herself a mysterious figure throughout. Igor is a lonely, love-sick man without a job or future, who has to confront the unexplained death of his neighbour, Zuza, as well as his own fears and the hope he has found on the number 22 tram in Prague. The complex composition of this debut contributes towards the novella’s overall impressiveness.
“Helena Hrstková’s debut work is notable for its unusual narration and a story as dark as a moonless, starless night.”
—Czech Television, Art
About the author:
Helena Hrstková (1989) is a writer who studied creative writing at the Josef Škvorecký Literary Academy, and literature at Masaryk University. She is a social worker and a tattoo artist. She lives in Prague.