With its style of narration, this collection of remarkable short stories bears comparison with the masters of the genre, even within an international context.
In this collection of short stories, Bianca Bellová, winner of the 2017 EU Prize for Literature, demonstrates her mastery of the form. The common thread running through the collection is the cycle of life – from childhood in a single-parent family, through puberty and first relationships, to the productive years and finally to old age. The title refers to the fragments or snippets of lives which this short-story collection captures in the individual stages of an ordinary person’s life – within them, banality can abruptly shift into a moment that is fatal, decisive and crucial. With their characteristically minor-key, melancholic tone, combined with a complete rejection of linguistic ornamentation, these short stories are also shaped by a specific, at times dark, humour.
“Bianca Bellová builds some of these short stories around more or less absurd trifles. She plants them like seedlings in the middle of a flower bed so that she can thoroughly loosen the soil around them, giving them room to visibly grow.”
“Within these stories there is a continually recurring dichotomy between the living and the dying, curiosity and apathy, health and disease. The book is filled with sexual tension but also with a depressing inactivity. The seasons roll by and people continue to experience the same cyclical problems.”
About the author:
Bianca Bellová (1970) was born in Prague, where she lives halfway between the Balkan and British parts of her family. She is a translator and interpreter. Her first novel Sentimentální román (A Sentimental Novel) was published in 2009. This was followed by the books Mrtvý muž (Dead Man, 2011) and Celý den se nic nestane (Nothing Happens All Day, 2013). The novel Jezero (The Lake, 2016) has won several literary awards, including the EU Prize for Literature, and publication rights have been sold to twenty-one countries. Her latest book is Tyhle fragmenty (These Fragments, 2021).