[ excerpt ]
photos of book
also by the author:
by Zuzana Brabcová
translated from the Czech by Tereza Novická
frontispiece by Rybka Černá
Aviaries is a novella composed of random diary entries, vignettes, dreams, observations, interior monologues, meditations, short anecdotes, newspaper headlines, and
excerpts from poetry and prose, central among which is a passage from C.G. Jung's essay on the Kore. All these elements meld together in a collapse of time to create, similar
to the work of Unica Zürn and Leonora Carrington, a phantasmagoria of the life of a woman navigating a city indifferent to those living on the margins. Interactions with other
residents of Prague’s Smíchov district, characters who might be figments of her imagination, and the other women in her life – infirm mother, artsy sister, absent, dumpster-diving
daughter – have reached a point where fantasy and reality seamlessly merge. The death of Václav Havel in 2011 provides the opening, and from there the prose
throbs in a kaleidoscope of contemporary news reports, flights of hallucination, wordplay, and metaphoric association to testify to what it is like to be alone and lost and
indigent in a world that has stopped making sense. It is a brutal vision of present-day Prague where life has become a morass of the bizarre and the grotesque.
Brabcová’s final book before her unexpected death, Aviaries received the Josef Škvorecký Award in 2016 for best prose of the year and was shortlisted for the
Magnesia Litera Book of the Year Award in 2017.
What others say:
A sophisticated testimony about social exclusion that oscillates between diary, dream entries, and phantasmagorical prose.
— Literární noviny
Aviaries has a multifarious form, with the author alternating between short accounts of real events and imaginative stories. There is here a precision
of expression pregnant with meaning, in which the core of matters emerge: subtlety and sensibility. Exactly the type of quality virtually taboo today.
— MF Dnes
[Aviaries] puts us in a public sphere that has no use for those who are incompatible with the exigencies of the day, with the culture of youth, success, physical prowess.
Brabcová is a superb stylist, and with this short book she has stepped beyond the wall of literary art that seldom allows for this type of social commentary and analysis.
14 x 20 cm
softcover with flaps
1 b/w illustration
fiction : novel
cover by Dan Mayer
UK: February 18, 2019
US: April 1, 2019
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