A Swedish translation of Jáchym Topol’s novel Chladnou zemí (Praha: Torst 2009, The Devil’s Workshop)
The exploration of history’s trail, same as in Topol’s previous works, is intertwined with a surreal-carnival plot. The laconically narrated story is an archeology of horror, layer by layer uncovering the territory of the more recent European past. In the moment, when the last members of a generation that had experienced it all die, Topol demonstrates how their descendants strive to preserve the stories about violence, which they perceive as the last bastion of authenticity – only to founder in throes of commerce, musealisation and politics.
Topol adroitly manages to steer clear of being explicit or chucking all values at the postmodern history scrapyard. On his journey to the mass graves of the European East, he approaches the ethically ambiguous questions from divergent perspectives, and – as if unwittingly and with subtle irony – undermines the apparently stable essence of our historical self-reflection.
Information in Swedish here.
Information about the original Czech edition
Other selected published translations (8)
Gjennom et kaldt land Norwegian
Die Teufelswerkstatt German
L’Atelier du Diable French
L'officina del diavolo Italian
The Devil's Workshop English
Por el país del frío Spanish
Warsztat diabła Polish