[ excerpt ]
photos of book
also by the author:
"Bow and Arrow"
by Marek Šindelka
translated from the Czech by Nathan Fields
artwork by Petr Nikl
The remarkable debut novel from Marek Šindelka, already the recipient of his country's major literary awards for poetry (Jiří Orten Prize) and prose (Magnesia Litera), Aberrant is a
multifaceted work that mixes and mashes together a variety of genres and styles to create a heady concoction of crime story, horror story (inspired by the Japanese tradition of kaidan),
ecological revenge fantasy, and Siberian shamanism. Nothing is what it seems. What appears to be human is actually a shell occupied by an alien spirit, or demon, and what appears to be an
unassuming plant is an aggressive parasite that harbors a poisonous substance within, or manifests itself as an assassin, a phantom with no real substance who pursues his victims across Europe
and through a post-apocalyptic Prague ravaged by floods. The blind see, and the seeing are blind. Plants behave like animals, and animals are symbionts with plants. Through these devices,
Šindelka weaves a tale of three childhood friends, the errant paths their lives take, and the world of rare plant smuggling — and the consequences of taking the wrong plant — to show the
rickety foundation of illusions on which our relationship to the environment, and to one another, rests. It is a world of aberrations, anomalies, and mistakes.
What others say:
Think Orlean’s The Orchid Thief on acid. It’s all kinds of funky, and in the hands of a lesser writer (and translator), it could have been little more than a hot, indulgent mess.
But Šindelka never loses his thread, which is saying something about a novel wherein losing the thread is part of the point. We’re on shaky ground in 2017, people, and Šindelka’s world of ‘aberrations,
anomalies, and mistakes’ feels unnervingly timely, and is enormously fun in the bargain. Everyone wins.
— M. Bartley Seigel, WWB Daily
The plant world constitutes a specific milieu in the novel and recalls [Michal] Ajvaz's The Other City, which is visible only to those who wish to see it ...
Aberrant by Marek Šindelka is a brilliantly written and ingeniously constructed novel ... when finished the reader is left with a liberating
feeling of catharsis befitting the dramas of antiquity and medieval legends.
— Czech Radio
14 x 20 cm
softcover with flaps
5 b/w drawings
fiction : novel
cover by Dan Mayer
UK: April 25, 2017
US: June 15, 2017
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