It does not happen too often that an author, whose debut novel captivated with novelty and honesty, is once again able to generate interest in his writing, not merely with the clever assembling of words, but foremostly, with a genuine statement. Tomáš Zmeškal has accomplished this with his second novel Životopis černobílého jehněte (The Biography of a Black and White Lamb).
In spite of drawing from his personal experiences this time, he again made a statement about Czech society on the whole, about ourselves. He depicts life situations and behaviour in front of his readers that most of us – white people – can not grasp, even those who consider themselves as unprejudiced, open-mided and tolerant. Employing his peculiar angle, Zmeškal portrayed the period between 1960’s and 1980’s, an era that many tend to idealize these days, either because of its intellectual vapidity – and thus triviality – or from the standpoint of commemorative optimism – we were all young and beautiful in those days. The writer portrays a world where nothing offered by society is working as it should. Even the things that we can usually rely on, such as emotional and family relationships, are disfigured beyond recognition for, in the words of the writer, “history…..with its big butt has sat on those private moments of happiness and crushed them beyond recognition.”