Petra Hůlová

Petra Hůlová (b .1979) is a fiction writer and the recipient of several literary awards, including the Czechia’s highest literary recognitions – the Magnesia Litera, the Josef Škvorecký Award and the Jiří Orten Award.  She studied language, culture, and anthropology at universities in Prague, Ulan Bator and New York, and was a Fulbright scholar in the USA. Her first novel, All This Belongs to Me (2002, Paměť mojí babičce), won the Magnesia Litera Award for Discovery of the Year. The English translation by Alex Zucker won the ALTA National Translation Award. Her fourth novel, Plastic Three-bedroom (2006, Umělohmotný třípokoj), won the Jiří Orten Prize for the best work of prose or poetry by an author of thirty or under; Alex Zucker’s English translation received the PEN Translates Award. Hůlová’s fifth novel, Taiga Station (2008, Stanice Tajga) won the Josef Škvorecký Prize. A total of ten novels and two plays of hers have been translated into more than ten languages. Fox Eyes is her first book for children. The Ace of Spades (2023), an extraordinary novel about culture wars in our everyday life, is her latest novel. She lives in Prague.

 

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The Ace of Spades

March 2023, 188 pages

Available material: English synopsis, English sample

Can a woman wake up one day and say #MeToo twenty years after the fact?

Entering her fifties, Sylvie Novak looks back on her successful career as a partisan author and reflects on her complicated personal life. She revisits memories of an initiatory relationship with an older writer, reevaluating what unfolded long ago. And then there is the present: touring with her new book of feminist essays, dealing with signs of ageing, and fighting Invisible Woman Syndrome, all of which Sylvie does in her way. But on top of everything, Sylvie’s daughter Judita opposes her mother without scruples, eventually pulling out the ultimate card against her.

Against a backdrop of stereotypes, generational clashes, and various modes of social activism, we become the onlookers of a struggle.

 

 

„A striking piece of self-criticism that packs a punch. A harsh, bruising, and fierce confession of the heroine—an ageing intellectual, mother of two children, and lover of many men—uttered in one breath. And so it reads.“

– Alena Machoninová, Russian studies scholar

„Can a woman wake up one day and say #MeToo twenty years after the fact? Or does she have to be a member of the #MeToo generation to do that? An extraordinary novel about culture wars in our everyday life.“

– Tereza Matějčková, philosopher

„Petra Hůlová’s novel gives us the opportunity to experience the changing of two generations, during which the younger group goes into a blind frenzy and sets off on a crusade to condemn the older generation.

– S.d.Ch., playwright

„We cannot rewrite the past, but the past keeps rewriting us. Petra Hůlová has written a book of disillusionment and reconciliation with passionate feminism, concerned with the body’s physiology.“

– Petr Fischer, literary critic and columnist