House with No Mirrors
Iva Pekárková knows how to focus on people on the fringes of society. She does it with humor, knowledge of human nature and a vivid, captivating storytelling. It is as if the patients and their carers are stepping out of the pages of the book, with their life stories, their families, their quirks, dreams, their failures.
The book is set in England, the author’s adopted home. The main character is the careworker Marketa, a Czech woman in her mid-fifties, divorced, disappointed. And yet she is full of vitality, still longing for the love of her life. In the homes of her patients she works alongside the Polish women Dagmara and Gosia and the Brazilian Nilsa. Readers will meet these careworkers as well as their various patients. There is Margret, who has been cared for by Dagmara in a perfect way. Marketa is able to look beyond this superficial perfection, discovering the Alzheimer’s patients’ needs and anxieties, their individual characters, their human dignity. Whether the aristocratic John, the former doctor Agatha Delahurst, or the pill-addicted Violetta, all of them are very different. It is an adventure to join Marketa as she steps inside their homes and lives, where their individual past is still present.
The broad-minded Marketa is capable of embracing different cultures in her life. In search of love and happiness she moves light-footed between England, the country of her work, Czech Republic, her homeland, and Africa, a continent which fascinates her. As a tourist on the island Djerba she enjoys a holiday romance with Bashir, one of the many African boys who loiter at hotel entrances. Bashir is around twenty and his dream is to live in Europe. After Marketa helps him to get there by marrying him, his dream is shattered by merciless reality.
The author's narrative style offers the ideal mix of sensitivity and raw humor.