Category: Slovakia

Jana Bodnárová: Náhrdelník/Obojok (Necklace/Choker)

The latest addition to my website is Jana Bodnárová‘s Náhrdelník/Obojok (Necklace/Choker). This novel tells the stories of two Slovak women – Sara and Iboja – who meet in their hometown after Slovak independence in the late twentieth century. Their stories and the stories of their families are the stories of Slovakia as we follow them and their families from the 1930s to the post-independence era. Both came from well-to-do families but suffered from the Holocaust, the war, exile (Sara is in Germany, Iboja’s mother and father went to France while she stayed behind with her grandparents). Both families suffered bitterly under communism with Sara’s father, a painter whose paintings were not approved, going to an early grave and Iboja’s grandfather being arrested for being a bourgeois parasite. Bodnárová shows how much the area has lost, something that can never be regained, while the two women – aged fifty-five and seventy respectively – can only look back with sadness.

Jana Beňová: Preč! Preč! (Away! Away!)

The latest addition to my website is Jana Beňová‘s Preč! Preč! (Away! Away!). This is a short, post-modernist and bitty novel about a Slovak woman, Rosa, who wants away: away from her current boyfriend, away from wherever she happens to be and away from her job(s). She has a boyfriend, Son, whom she lives with but, one morning, she is off with Corman, leaving not only Son but Slovakia, as they head to Austria. Corman does not last long as she comes across a puppet show and Pierre, the puppet master also wants away. But she goes back to Son – for a while. She and Son also travel together, where they meet her uncle whom she had last seen in the United States but he has moved away. As with his niece, the move does not make him happy. Rosa is never really content wherever she is, whoever she is with. She quite simply does not fit in – anywhere. The book ends with the words Where are you going? Where to?, which sums it up. It is an interesting tale but does jump around a bit.

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