A novel about a man who appears to lose his emotional self between pornography, philosophy and art, while craving vainly to find deeper meaning and fullfilment. Bertrand Štern is a young intellectual in the midst of an existential crisis. He finds no satisfaction either in his career or in his love life. After the breakdown of yet another relationship, he decides to go to the film festival in Karlovy Vary – with the intention of finding new love there, rather than to watch films. During his stay Bertrand is introduced to the porn actress Marie and is immediately attracted to her. He also gets to know Lucie, who works for an NGO and is at the festival looking after blind visitors. Bertrand develops emotional ties to both women, but again he fails to build a relationship.
“I read Stern’s Attempt to Love as a picture of the emptying of the contemporary world. Erotica on the imaginary border of porn and vulgarity allows a much sharper view of the social disintegration of the globalized world – in this sense I regard Zábranský as the only truly distinctive Czech author who can currently be compared with contemporaries writing in a similar way in the east and west of Europe.”
— Zdenko Pavelka, Právo
“Stern is rather like narrators in Houellebecq and Bernhard – the more irascible the tone in which they spit out their hate, the more we suspect a craving for love and human understanding under the surface. In the end, this is probably Zábranský’s greatest weapon.”
— Michaela Hečková, Reflex
“Zábranský’s portrait of young adults who never encountered communism and have nothing more with which to get to grips than their own hedonism, may one day serve as a fine sociological definition of this particular generation.”
— Pavel Mandys, Týden