Gimme the Money
Rights sold:German, Spanish, Hungarian
First published in 1996 in Czech, in 2000 in German and in English translation. 2017 the novel is being revived. It has been republished in the Czech Republic and in Germany.
Hail Gin’s taxi and take a seat for the ride of your life! Jindřiška/Gin is a New York cabbie, a struggling Czech immigrant alternately buoyed-up or battered by life in the guts of the great city. Though married to Talibe, a legal immigrant from West Africa, she lives with Gloria, a Cuban lesbian artist and tiny Josito, the baby of Gloria’s jailed friend. Through Alex, the Russian owner of the garage on 47th Street, Gin rents a succession of yellow taxis of dubious reliability and origin. Thus she meets a collection of characters: hookers, Lotharios, fraudsters, friends, lovers, hangers-on, and an architect who once dreamed of changing the skyline of Manhattan. “The gravity of big cities captures us,” writes Pekárková, “and when people let themselves be lured…their inevitable butt-falls can be made gentler only by their love for the City; for the unique and thorny planet.” Yet despite Gin’s philosophical musings, it’s all about the money: everybody needs it. Gin drives at all hours through the canyons of skyscrapers, along night streets that glisten with slithering rainbows of motor oil and rainwater, seeking fares, trying to save enough cash to pay the rent and to survive.
Pekárková’s eye for telling detail, her ironic humor, and her deft ear for dialogue helps to create a powerful tale with plenty of laughs, one that is rich in incident and comes in time to a shattering climax.
Fresh, gutsy, hilarious, the novel is one terrific (and terrifying) joy-ride through New York.
Pekárková is a proficient storyteller. Straightforward, not drowning in details, yet lyrical and accurate.