Josef Pánek (b. 1966) received his masters and PhD in Prague, then worked in Norway and Australia before returning to the Czechia He debuted with a collection of short stories, entitled The Opal Digger (2013). His second book, Love in the Time of Global Climate Change (Argo, 2017) won the Magnesia Litera, Czechia’s highest literary honour in 2018. So far, its rights have been sold to 12 countries. This year Argo has published his latest novel To Them, I Am God.
THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS LITERARY AWARD – BEST WORK OF FICTION (2018)
November 2022, 336 pages
Available material: English sample, English synopsis
Bergen: a city where it is always gloomy and dark, where it rains for half a year straight, where no shops are open on the weekend, and where people communicate exclusively in Norwegian. A city surrounded by mountains one cannot climb. A city where loneliness and isolation grow to new dimensions.
Pride and fall. Loss and searching. The swirl of obsessive thoughts and the loss of existential faith experienced by the main character of Josef Panek’s newest novel brings readers again to the lavishness of uncompromising writing that sometimes scares even itself. Who is this idol, this confident god who has no doubts about being exceptional? Who knows what he wants and acts with no regrets? Who is this young man, admired by all friends? And what will happen to him when he resolves to deprive himself of the safety of home, where he knows everything and has everything under control – or so he thinks – leaving the post-revolutionary Czech Republic to pursue a science career in Bergen?
Unforeseen strangenesses knock him down, and soon he cannot even rely on his senses…