Elsa and Amanita

Original title: Elza a muchomůrka
Publisher: Druhé město, Brno, 2022
80 pages
Experimental Fiction

A compelling love story from 1980s Prague

Sylva Fischerová’s prose novel is set in Prague in the 1980s, but it is not a straightforward portrayal of notorious events and phenomena. The author evokes the atmosphere of the period from within, through the characters and their dialogues and feelings, inserting diary entries, descriptions of dreams or excerpts from readings. The realistic gradually gives way to the dreamlike, the description of pubs and the university military department turns to the depiction of foreign or mythical events and places, and everything is held on a pillar of a love story, which, however, is not the main purpose and meaning of the narrative. The tightly constructed text thus becomes a parable set in a specific time and place, yet universal.

(Petr A. Bílek, literary theorist)

The spaces and things in which the story takes place, the situations out of which it is composed, appear as if with the “intensity of first sight”, not yet settled, not yet planted, perhaps already a little, but not quite. With words it is similar – some of them seem to appear with the “intensity of first hearing”. So much strange brightness in the background of 1980s Prague!

(Petr Borkovec, poet and prose writer)

A fantastic image of the brutal substance of the communist normalisation in which those who are in power today grew up.
Karel Hvížďala, journalist
Reading Elsa and Amanita is a pure pleasure. It turns out that the power of literature lies not only in its ability to fabulate and fictionalise, but above all in its ability to hit the mark precisely, so as the reader might say: That's it!
Kryštof Špidla, literary critic
Sylva Fischerová's novella is remarkable, and in a small space it has a much more impressive impact on the reader than the thick novels that are devoured by crowds of readers.
Petr A. Bílek, literary theorist
The most important thing is that the various methods Sylva Fischerová uses to evoke and analyse the time and the dark and absurd world of the late 1980s, serve perfectly the compelling love story, which remains unique, fragile, somehow childishly groping. It remains green. Elsa's love story is like the headdress of a Bororo sorcerer, made of green Arara parrot feathers, which occupies almost a metre and a half of wall space.
Petr Borkovec, poet and prose writer

Other books by Sylva Fischerová

Short Stories
Experimental Fiction
Age: 5+, Children's Literature