Playfulness, variety and blasphemy in a sweeping novel with two central storylines.
This novel is built on an irregularly alternating first-person narrative. The two speakers are the persecuted writer Barbora Farná, a pathological liar, and her son, the photographer Marek. They are joined by a lawyer, Vanda, whose relationship with Marek quickly transforms from a professional one into a romantic one, and her husband Alfréd, a wealthy computer-game developer and admirer of the works of Barbora Farná. Upon this narrow stage, Ludvík Němec begins a meta-narrative game of truth, reality and fiction. The fictional worlds created by a compulsion to lie, writerly skill and a gamer’s passion are interspersed with a number of references to real writers and their lives and with a passion for the possibilities of linguistic games. And yet A Woman in Parenthesis is also one of the few high-quality and at the same time thrilling romance novels where there is a distinctive, decisive role for the narrator.
“Ludvík Němec has created a colourful mosaic of literary statements, stylistic acrobatics and narrative ruses.”
“Over the past five years, only Jáchym Topol has produced such a bewitching novel. […] Němec’s novel is exceptional in its old-world craftsmanship, the careful choice of original novelistic ingredients and the thoughtful way these are put to use.”