A linguistically brilliant prose debut exploring the pathology of selfless parenting.
This debut novella by Ivana Myšková was praised for its flawless technique and language. The Inflaming is the story of young Hermína, whose caring parents and a number of fateful men have had a more than healthy influence on her life. Hermína’s internal monologue, interrupted by her letters to friends, focuses on interpersonal relationships, social conventions and expectations. In particular, the novella explores the relationship between mother and daughter as well as whether, and how, it is possible to overcome unwanted genetic baggage. The image of parents as eiders, tearing out their own feathers to create the best possible living conditions for their offspring is a stifling metaphor for excessive parental care, destructive love and unwanted self-sacrifice. For Myšková, precision and perfection of expression is key, creating highly aestheticised and refined intimate prose.
“Her ambition is not to accurately record, trace and colour but to caricature, change proportions, alter lighting, adapt and parody.”
“Ivana Myšková’s literary debut […] lives and breathes with unusually rich language and has courage.”
About the author
Ivana Myšková (b. 1981) ranks among the stars of the young generation of Czech prose writers. She graduated in creative writing and media communication from the Literary Academy in Prague. She worked as a radio cultural editor and now is a magazine editor. In 2007, she debuted with her radio play Odpoledne s liliputem (Afternoon with a Lilliputian) and in 2012, she published her novella Nícení (The Inflaming), for which she was nominated for the Czech Book Award and Josef Škvorecký Award. In 2017, she published a collection of short stories entitled Bílá zvířata jsou velmi často hluchá (White Animals Are Very Often Deaf), in which she explores disgust and squeamishness with a scientific meticulousness and sarcasm.
Read an excerpt