When a Czech historian becomes convinced he’s the illegitimate great-grandson of an infamous anarchist who attempted an assassination while living in the United States, he travels to New York to investigate. Arriving in Manhattan during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, his research takes him further back into the past—from the Pittsburgh home of a nineteenth-century US industrialist to 1920s Europe, where a celebrated anarchist couple is on the run from the law.
Based on the lives of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, The Attempt is a novel about the legacy of radical politics and relationships—one that traverses centuries and continents to deliver a moving, powerful story of personal and political transformation.
More information on the publisher’s website.
“Platzová’s ultra-restrained curation of her material, translated with equal restraint and discrimination by Alex Zucker . . . is a powerfully distilled meditation on the meaning of freedom, a ferocious complexity lurking beneath its smooth and hypnotically readable surface.”
— Emma Garman, Words Without Borders
“A vivid reconstruction of the life of Andrei B. and Louise G., their deportation, radicalization, and enduring love. Between this and 2014’s Aaron’s Leap, Platzová is on a roll, telling rich stories of European history and the 20th century’s cumbrous fallout.”
“Platzová demonstrates an understanding of anarchy and has a remarkable ability to explain it without dumbing it down. Despite its US setting, The Attempt is very much a Czech novel with Czech sensibilities and references cover to cover.”
— Virginia Parobek, World Literature Today
“Masterful. . . . In the tradition of Prus, Kundera, and Vonnegut . . . [Platzová’s] writing style is varied, sparing, insightful, and at times nothing short of poetic. Enthusiastically recommended.”
— Jackie Drohan, Historical Novels Review