Michal Ajvaz:Cesta na jih (Journey to the South)

The latest addition to my website is Michal Ajvaz‘s Cesta na jih (Journey to the South). This is an amazing work, starting with a ballet of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and where one of the dancers murders an audience member. Martin who saw the murder and who is writing a thesis on Kant, and Kristyna, a fellow student, former lover of Tomas Kantor, author of the ballet whose murdered body had been found earlier and who was the stepbrother of the murdered audience member, set out on southwards trek through Europe, following often slight clues as to who might have been irresponsible for the murders. At the same time we read Tomas Kantor’ strange book Bare Walls, which includes a long story told by a character to his sick wife and his story, in turn, includes another novel, written in wire! It all gets very complicated as the main story and the three novels have some common themes but go off on all sorts of tangents about robots, the end of the world, daemons, civil war, mysterious codes, entoptic images, a tour of several European towns and cities, creative gummy sweets and a whole load more . It is a brilliantly original work and though you will get lost at times, it sort of becomes clear at the end as our two heroes move further South, ending up in Gavdos, the southernmost part of Europe.

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