A history of the Czech lands and Austria through the engaging story of two women.
Pavla Horáková’s new novel is a fascinating dialogue between two narrators separated by more than a hundred years. Anežka, a teacher, is trying to find some direction in her chaotic life and the chaotic era in which she lives. At the same time, she is going through the handwritten memoirs of Kateřina, an eccentric, self-assured woman whose lack of a formal education is more than made up for by her natural wit and powers of perception. The two women are drawn to Vienna by its strange combination of worldliness and provincialism, its hectic present coexisting with nostalgia for times gone by. Vienna in 1912 – a proud imperial capital at the height of its glory – and modern Vienna in 2020, which we get to know through Anežka, who sets out to explore it in Kateřina’s footsteps.
“The concept of two voices separated by a century engaging in an imaginary dialogue with each other is in itself very stimulating. As a result, the writer is able to find parallels between two worlds which at first sight seem very distant, not only on a personal level (points of convergence in the lives of Anežka and Kateřina), but also on a socio-political and cultural one.”
― Deník N
About the author:
Pavla Horáková (1974) is a Prague-based writer, Czech Radio presenter and literary translator. She has translated more than twenty books from English and Serbian (including novels by Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow and Iain Banks) and has received two translation awards. In 2018 she published the novel Teorie podivnosti (The Theory of Strangeness), for which she was awarded the Magnesia Litera Award. The rights to Teorie podivnosti have been sold to eleven countries so far.