This novella clearly shows that a new riveting storyteller has appeared in Czech literature. The story is a monologue of a woman who is recounting her life. The banality and grey of her childhood and adolescence in the seventies and eighties are suffused with hidden family dramas which the narrator must confront − her grandfather, who was killed by the communists, her grandmother’s open hatred towards the regime, the beginning of her mother’s mental illness or her father, who comes out during normalisation.
The narrator depicts all this with cynical detachment, which however immediately disappears when she confesses to loving a certain celebrity. Suddenly she is also overcome by passionate emotion, which consumes her despite its seeming hopelessness. Everything then leads to an unexpected conclusion. The novella is also remarkable for its suggestive and colourful storytelling, as well as its skilfully written dialogues.
“The imagery of Bianca Bellová’s Dead Man is fascinating, it pulses with its own language. Despite its fierceness, the text is organised and under control. From the first sentence the reader is hooked.”
— Jáchym Topol, Lidové noviny
Selected published translations (1)
Toter Mann German