- Winner of the 2021 European Union Prize for Literature
- Nominated for Best Work of Prose in the most prestigious Czech literary award, the Magnesia Litera, in 2021
Rights sold:Spanish, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Italian, Serbian, Hungarian, Polish, Croatian, Latvian, Egyptian
The train rolls on. Inside, alone in the compartment, a young woman is sitting, wounded in body and soul. She is looking at the landscape outside the window, thinking about her family, reminiscing about cheerful moments spent with her sister, who committed suicide. Why? No one knows. Marie, the protagonist of the novel, blames herself for her sister’s death. Tormenting thoughts. The wheels spin, the train rattles and sighs, the landscape passes. Marie, the traveller, thinks about all possible methods of suicide, but also about how to cope with life and its tragedies, how to live well in spite every injury. Perhaps some New Age spirituality can be a help? The reader gradually learns that after the death of her sister, Marie herself tried to commit suicide several times, but always hesitantly enough to survive.
Despite the bitter theme, the young author’s literary work is full of subtle humor and irony. It is also the rhythm of her language and the extraordinary purity of her style which make this novel a pleasant read.
Smrtholka (Deathmaiden) has a cinematic flow of images in its grain. As if consciousness and unconsciousness flowed into and out of each other, over and through each other, following the pattern of film editing.
The journey along the tracks (referring to suicide in the subway) creates the impression of a kind of roadmovie of the mind, at the same time maintaining an impressive, almost musical narrative rhythm … This slim but carefully thought-out and written book is worth paying attention to. Not only because of an issue that affects all of us, but also because of the imaginative form of writing and working with a kind of statistics we do not normally seek out.
The author weaves into the plot her outstanding imagination and sense for creating unusual metaphors. For this reason too, her second work of fiction deserves attention.