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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 21 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
Witch's Flight

[ excerpt ]

Czech writing

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also by the author:
Of Kids & Parents
On Flying Objects

  the witch's flight
A Civilian's Adventure

by Emil Hakl

translated from the Czech by Marek Tomin
illustrated by Pavel Růt

An ordinary 39-year-old inhabitant of Prague, nothing to distinguish him from the nameless mass around him, except that for some inexplicable reason he fatally stabs another faceless man in a supermarket, and the police have no leads. In some senses a contemporary Czech version of Raskolnikov, pangs of conscience begin to beset him, and he muffles them by obsessively watching old films, relentlessly riding his bike, and taking hallucinogenics. A business trip to Portugal gives him an opportunity to escape and push his problems at home out of mind. He tries to settle into a new life and learn some basic phrases from a tourist dictionary, but after a year of living a tenuous existence, and a vain effort at interpersonal contact – an unexpected relationship with a married woman, a Hungarian émigré, and her ersatz aunt from Budapest, who makes her living as a second-rate fortune teller – he returns to Prague, to something even more momentous than what he has just left.

Hakl's dynamic narration sweeps us along on waves of roiling perception and flights of phantasmagoria. A master of the freshly-minted expression, of leavening in hallucinatory passages with their own episodic meanderings, Hakl maintains throughout his characteristic humor and irony. This collage of episodes leaves us with the impression that something is being sought, a fumbling through the dark toward a goal, but exactly what this could be is left vague, and it might very well amount to nothing at all.


What others say:

The novel is really more about undergoing an initiation than about a crime that has been committed. And the motif of initiation pops up more than once.


The initiatory "journey within" has, however, its mundane and at times disparaging aspects: a "virgin" whose virginity only applies to anal sex; an old man obsessed with his silent, grotesque death vigil; a Hungarian fortune teller who may very well have supernatural abilities but doesn't hesitate to swindle her trusting clients regardless. Ritual anointment is diminished by embarrassing moments; the absolution the protagonist receives upon his return to Prague is played out behind the scenes of this "civilian's adventure," in a strip club of dubious quality.



ISBN 9788086264424
approx. 290 pp.
14 x 20 cm
softcover with flaps
fiction : novel

release date:
forthcoming 2017

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