When a young teacher returns to his home town to celebrate his grandfather’s eightieth birthday, he is confronted by secrets, concealed grievances and long-held memories.
The young teacher, Ondřej Šmíd, gets to hear all kinds of remarkable things. He learns how the history of earwigs began and what happens if you break a pottery elephant. Having begun to ask questions of himself and others, he puts together fragments of memory as one composes the coloured sides of a Rubik’s cube. In this brainteaser, however, his family’s history is enmeshed with the story of his native city.
Rubik’s Cube takes the reader to 2011 and also to the end of the war, to the woodlands of western Bohemia, the Zemplínská Šírava reservoir in eastern Slovakia and, above all, to the streets of Plzeň (Pilsen) — the “most American city in Europe”, which made a stand against the authorities following the currency reform of the early 1950s.
About the author
Vratislav Maňák (b. 1988), author of two books of fiction for adults and three books for children; he won the Jiří Orten Prize for his debut work of fiction, the short stories Polythene Clothes (Šaty z igelitu, 2011); he works for Czech Television and teaches Journalism at Charles University.
“[Rubik’s Cube] is a mature work, engagingly written and with interesting style and content.”
—Petr Nagy, Reflex
“The young author manages to elegantly combine a small slice of Czech history with the stories of one three-generational family.”
—Jakub Šofar, Právo