Pavla Horáková (b. 1974) is a Prague-based author, radio journalist and literary translator. She has received two translation awards, having translated over 20 books from English and Serbian, such as novels by Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow and Iain Banks. Her published works of fiction include a detective trilogy for young adults: The Secret of the Sexton Beetles (2010, 2016), The Sexton Beetles under the Castle (2011, 2016) and The Sexton Beetles and the Gravediggers (2012, 2018). In 2018, she co-authored the novella Johana (alongside Alena Scheinostová and Zuzana Dostálová) and published her first novel for adults, A Theory of Strangeness (Teorie podivnosti, 2018). She was awarded the most prestigious literary award in Czechia (Magnesia Litera). She has been working as a reporter for Czech Radio since 2001. With her co-host Jiří Kamen wrote and presented a twenty-seven part series titled Field Post (2015) highlighting the memoirs, journals and correspondence of Czech soldiers for the centenary of WW1. The pair also edited two books on that subject, entitled An Order Came Through from the Emperor (2015) and Zum Befehl, Lieutenant, Sir (2018). Rights to her winning novel A Theory of Strangeness have been sold to 12 countries so far.
THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS LITERARY AWARD – BEST WORK OF FICTION (2019)
October 2021, 392 pages
Rights sold to: Bulgaria (Ergo)
Available material: German sample
The new novel by Pavla Horáková is a fascinating dialogue between two narrative voices separated by more than a century. Anežka, a teacher, is trying to find her bearings in the chaos inside herself and the chaotic times she is living in. At the same time, poring over the manuscript of a memoir written by Kateřina: an eccentric, self-confident woman whose lack of formal education is more than offset by her natural wit and perceptiveness. Both women are fascinated with Vienna, its strange amalgam of worldliness and provincialism, its hectic present coexisting with nostalgia for long-gone times. Vienna of 1912, the proud imperial metropolis, was at the apex of its glory, and the current Vienna of 2020, which we get to know through Anežka as she sets out to explore it in Kateřina’s footsteps.
“Horáková presents a fascinating historical guide, an account of several interconnected eras, an intriguingly structured and masterfully narrated novel and, last but not least, the discovery of an unknown but remarkable writer, all within the context of Austro-Hungarian Vienna, which has been connected to the Czech lands in various ways for countless years.”
“The novel’s narrative levels are linked by one essential theme: a fascination with Vienna, its present and its long-lost past, a fascination with a foreign but, in fact, familiar place. The Heart of Europe is a truly great Central European novel the likes of which we have been missing (…).”