A novel about the life in exile of entrepreneur Jan Antonín Baťa, who played a major role in turning the Baťa shoe company into a global business phenomenon.
While in his homeland the Communists were establishing a dictatorship, Jan Antonín Baťa was constructing new ‘ideal cities’ in the Brazilian jungle based on the Czech city of Zlín. In this novel, Jan Antonín attempts to posthumously tell his story as he experienced it, not as it was portrayed by communist propaganda. He recalls his closest coworkers and advisors, victories and defeats and he refuses to leave this world until he has found justice. However, he doesn’t speak alone. The women who lived with him in exile also tell their stories — his daughters Ludmila and Edita and granddaughter Dolores — as well as his son-in-law Ljubodrag and other companions.
Using family memories, diaries and documents as well as Baťa’s prose and poetry, masterful storyteller Markéta Pilátová has written a page-turner about the 20th century, in which so many unambiguous acts can be interpreted in so many contradictory ways.
“Historical and existential themes […] flavoured with distinctive humour and colourful narration”
—Marek Toman, Lidové noviny
“A well-written and powerful story.”
—Barbora Svobodová, Host
Selected published translations (3)
Z Baťą w dżungli Polish
Con Bata nella giungla Italian
Mit Baťa im Dschungel German