Ajvaz is a poet and novelist whose books can be classified as playful literary fantasy filled with symbols. His books are regularly published abroad and have been translated into English. The French translation of Ajvaz’s The Other City was awarded the Utopiales prize for science fiction and The Luxembourg Gardens also contains elements of science fiction. The novel describes a sequence of events experienced by Parisian secondary-school teacher Paul in the summer holidays. In an absent-minded moment he hits the wrong key on his computer keyboard and misspells a single word; as a result, he spends the happiest and most terrible period of his life. The action of the novel is set in Paris, Nice, Nantes, New York State, Moscow, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, Taormina in Sicily, and Lara, a town of the author’s invention.
“In his latest novel, Michal Ajvaz has ingeniously built up an incredibly imaginative web of stories which connect up, cross over and influence each other.”
— Markéta Kittlová, iLiteratura
“The author manages to do something simple yet quite remarkable: he perceives his mother tongue differently, as if from the outside, and penetrates into its very essence. He sees its hitherto unnoticed, miraculous qualities; he senses its melodies and hues. This idiosyncratic linguistic obsession leads to knowledge. The novella is not as sophisticated as Ajvaz’s previous books – with one difference: there is a sophistication here in the intermingling of subtle prose with elements more typical of lower forms of literature.”
— Magnesia Litera jury
Selected published translations (1)
Люксембургский сад Russian