Pravomil—The Deafening Silence of Justice
A chronicle of the 20th century, told from the perspective of an almost forgotten hero. A true story of an extraordinary life, enriched by an extraordinary imagination.
The Czech soldier Pravomil Raichl (1921-2002) had such an unusual life that it makes great material for a novel—one which is dedicated to the atrocities of the 20th century. He was an intrepid resistance fighter, first against Nazism and later against Communism. He survived Soviet gulags, but also World War II battles and was injured several times in the process.
After the war Pravomil Raichl is targeted by Czech communists and arrested. Miraculously, he escapes two death sentences and manages to break out of prison. After that he emigrates to the USA; he lives in Chicago, later in Portland. As an old man he returns to his home country to assassinate a communist judge who was responsible for several judicial murders in the 1950s — Karel Vaš. The post-communist judiciary has declared the man’s crimes statute-barred. Pravomil Raichl, who knew Karel Vaš personally from the Gulag era, wants to ensure justice himself, gun in hand. But on the day of the planned attack, he dies of heart failure.
Petr Stančík describes the life of this almost forgotten character in the form of a diary. He lets Pravomil look at events through the eyes of his time. He also plays with historical facts by enriching them with his seething imagination and absurd humor. This stroll through the gruesome history of the 20th century becomes a literary walk that entertains, arouses curiosity and allows the reader to wonder over and over.
Petr Stančík has created a great postmodern myth, gluttonous in its style, darkly poetic and also darkly funny, as we are familiar with from the author's earlier titles.
Probably only in a Petr Stančík novel can the heroes sleep together on a rocking stone or spend the night inside a mammoth and at the same time be credible witnesses to fundamental historical moments and events.