Miloš Urban (b. 1967), one of the most translated Czech writers has published a total of 15 books: novels, novellas and short stories. The novels Santiniho jazyk (Santini’s Language) and Hastrman (Water-Goblin) have been made into films, and Water-Goblin won the top Czech literary award Magnesia Litera (2012). The feature film Water-Goblin directed by Ondřej Havelka is the modern utopia, which confronts the problem of ecology with the phenomenon of the victim, and entered cinemas in the spring of this year. The novel Sedmikostelí (The Seven Churches, 1998), written in the spirit of Gothic novels and tales of terror, full of melancholy and murder in the middle of old Prague, has sold tens of thousands of copies and was translated into 20 languages. Almost every year he publishes a new novel on a variety of themes, which underlines his wide scope of interest. He combines suspense with literary quality.
February 2017, 264 pages
Available material: English sample, German sample
The contemporary face of modern Czech literature, none of Miloš Urban’s previous works have made such easy and smooth reading as his latest book.
The Shutter is an erotic novel about the curse of our age when anyone can become a photographer and take at least one good shot. Motivation is the key. Amateur photographer Matěj approaches Věra, a female model with zero modelling experience, randomly in the street and starts to post his unique photographs on the picture-sharing site Blickperson, gradually building up an army of fans. The arrangement leads to the blossoming of a unique relationship, photographs that radiate a genuine kind of magic and a combined chemistry that creates something above-average. Matěj continues to view his relationship with Věra as entirely professional, but there is a realistic chance of romance developing. Then the model decides to take it upon herself to dramatically resolve, one way or another, her still ill-defined relationship with Matěj and it ends up threatening the young man’s job, potentially turning his entire world upside-down.
“Urban decided that this time he could dispense with history and mystery, and has written an erotic novel in the age of modern technology. Miloš Urban’s The Shutter is a book for today.”
“The reader is the captive of the author, the possibilities of imagination are becoming handicapped. The word is overpowered by the image. This is the age we live in.”
“Věra knelt down, spread out her arms, and again gradually exhaled through her nose. At first, she touched the base of the lake with her toes, but then her footing gave way. The last air in her lungs bubbled around her head. Matěj took his pictures through the water, and then, with his right hand, grabbed the model around her waist and yanked her up. In his left hand, the camera was manoeuvred in such a way as to keep it dry from both the lake and the spattering rain. ‘Bit over-enthusiastic, aren’t we? You know, sooner or later you would have ended up inhaling water, you silly girl. ”Why are you photographing me in the process of drowning?” I don’t know. The surface is like its own lens. It deforms you just a little – but not too much. Enough to change you ever so slightly. Věra floating in the streams of time…’ ‘I think you’re trying to get rid of me.’”