Europe Is Like a Thonet Chair, America is a Right Angle
Original title: Evropa je jako židle Thonet, Amerika je pravý úhel
Publisher: Druhé město, Brno, 2013
- The book was nominated for the Magnesia Litera, the most prestigious Czech literary award.
Rights sold:Polish, German
A travelogue with the features of an essay, including poetic passages
When a poet sets out on a journey to another continent, it can sometimes have unexpected consequences. For Sylva Fischerová the result was the book she wrote after returning from her poetry reading tour of the American East Coast and Midwest. The book offers some unusual and very personal insights into the similarities and differences between Europe and America as well as into the nature of writing itself.
During her stay in America, the author keeps her eyes and ears wide open. It is in her own way that she discovers the foreign country, its architecture, flowers and people. She compares the two continents in multiple ways, looking at their cultures as well as their spirits, as the title of the book suggests.
Sylva Fischerová’s work pretends to be a travelogue, but the reader should not expect obligatory notes from a journey. What is at stake here is a full-blown fiction, formally a very specific narrative based on fragmentariness, austerity and the alternation between prose and poetic rhythms. In general, the book is a ravishing reading experience: in Fischerová’s Europe is like a Thonet Chair, America is a Right Angle we have one of the fundamental works of 21th century Czech literature.
It is a text of many layers, and it deserves being read in an equally multilayered way. The reader is awarded with the beauty of language, with juicy and witty dialogues, with philosophical points – and all this is projected on a screen illuminated by death, you are sniffing the sweetish, acrid smell of an extinction. Yes, the story is there – the one about love and death.
Fischerová remains stubbornly herself in a way which is original, funny and never boring. You can quickly penetrate into her distinctive (interpretative) world, where you can happily stay for a while.