Magdaléna Platzová (b. 1972) is the author of the novels The Return of the Girlfriend (2004), Aaron’s Leap (2014), The Anarchist (2013), The Other Side of Silence (2018), and the short story collections Salt, Sheep and Stones (2003), and The Recycled Man (2008). She has also written two children’s book. Platzová grew up in Prague, went to school in the United States and England, and earned a master’s degree in Philosophy from Charles University in Prague. She worked as an actress and translator and later as an editor and journalist at the Literární noviny monthly and the Respekt weekly. From 2009 to 2012, she lived in New York, where she taught a course on Franz Kafka at New York University. She currently lives in Lyon with her husband and three children.
NOMINATED FOR THE GREATEST LITERARY PRIZE IN CZECHIA (2023)
June 2022, 240 pages
RIGHTS SOLD TO: Bellevue Literary Press (USA), France (Agullo), Italy (Voland)
Who was Felice, a woman known to generations of Kafka fans only as a lover of meaty dishes, heavy furniture, and precise watches?
Who was the woman hiding behind the poised nature and hearty laughter in the accounts? Moreover, what was the reach of Kafka’s shadow in her life? Felice has never been deemed worthy of independent study by literary scholars, and little is known about her life after her separation from the Prague writer. She got married, had two children, and emigrated to America. For forty years, she kept the letters of the man who left her.
Magdeléna Platzová began searching for traces of Felice in the United States in 2010 when Felice’s son was still alive. Platzová met up with him and his family, giving rise to a book that is not only about Felice but also about other people who were close to Kafka and whose fates are linked to the ruins of pre-war Europe, like Greta Bloch, Ernst Weiss, Max Brod, and Salomon Shocken. Salomon is quoted in the book saying, „If only we knew then what fate had in store for us, and how precious what we were experiencing was, we would have appreciated it more. All we can do now is fish for the pieces of a sunken ship.“