Stančík’s imagery

by Jiří Padevět

7. 5. 2015

To introduce this brief comment I must admit that I have missed out on a lot of Czech prose, because I am more involved in reading yellowing archive material than the writings of emeritus, soon-to-be-emeritus and not-at-all-emeritus authors. I did make one exception, as with all respect to the dead I really did simply need to take a rest from the death marches, murdered hostages and senseless executions at the end of the war, so at least I picked up a title that had the word mummy (the dead kind) on the cover, by an author who dealt with the Protectorate in Pérák. The latest work by Petr Stančík, entitled Mlýn na mumie (The Mummy Mill), is a thoroughly Baroque work, even though it is set in Prague during the Prussian-Austrian war. The author’s imagery and total gluttony for characters, situations, tastes, smells and colours keep the reader going even between paragraphs in the bathroom, until he has read to the end. If Mlýn na mumie were an image of Czech prose this would be just fine because it makes you think and at the same time it is entertaining and does not take itself too seriously. That is the way I think Czech prose should be. That is the way literary and social life should be. So Mr Petr Stančík, thank you for the guidelines. I feel like writing an even more lavish novel than you did, but I am unable.

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Jiří Padevět has been a surveyor, punk, teacher, bookseller. He is currently the director of the Academia Publishing House and author of several books including Poznámky k dějinám.