From the Reviews

Jako by se to všechno stalo včera (2021, CS-DE)

As If It All Happened Yesterday

The author’s approach to the subject is somewhat different than one might expect, she certainly does not limit herself to historical facts, which are often repeated only as facts about something that happened years ago, which can evoke emotions, but there are limits beyond which they cannot go. Radka Denemarková is a great writer, but more important is her insight. Both of these qualities meet in symbiosis, she can find words that express deep thoughts. And it should be noted that these are primarily her thoughts, although she can extract important elements of other thinkers’ work and synthesize them in an original way.Jiří Lojín, VašeLiteratura.cz
Radka Denemarková: Román Hodiny z olova (2019, CZ)

Hours of Lead

‘Hours of Lead’ is an unusually vast and multi-layered novel, intentionally conceived as a political work of art that wants to have an impact. Its subject matter is the present-day form of Chinese society as a totalitarian regime, even though the focus is not so much on the way society works, but rather the fate of those who find themselves in the position of victims. The novel eschews traditional presentation of characters as unique beings that are occasionally affected by random events. The protagonists of the ‘Hours of Lead’ are symbolic archetypes, reminiscent of ancient mythology. They represent professions, behaviours and attitudes that help to bring the chillingly fatal events into motion. Private lives are completely ensnared by relentless social mechanisms: China’s rise to power is at the same time the opposite of the crumbling values of the European civilization that finds itself in a crisis from which there is no way out. ‘Hours of Lead’ is an attempt to write a novel that aims to shake the reader up from a condescending feeling that what they are reading is ‘only’ a well-thought-out story.Jury of the Magnesia Litera Prize

Introspection and a birds-eye view, an allegory of our times that is also sophisticated and nuanced; not a single character in the book is a cardboard cut-out but rather almost a novel in their own right.Marko Martin, Die Welt

… a burning appeal to rethink our attitudes, since our human flaws make us susceptible to demagogues, false prophets and would-be leaders.Michael Stavarič, Die Presse

Just to look at, this is a colossus of a book– but one that encompasses worlds.Cornelia Geißler, Berliner Zeitung

The novel […] shows how dehumanisation – this hallmark of the twentieth century – progresses in a symbiosis of dictatorship and capitalism.Niels Beintker, BR2 Kulturwelt

Denemarková combines worlds and political systems cleverly and with an unobtrusive eloquence.Bernd Melichar, Kleine Zeitung
“Hours of Lead” never tries to disguise the fact that it is a thoroughly politically engaged book. Her ability to translate such an unabashedly literary commitment into a highly poetic language and original form makes Radka Denemarková one of the most exciting contemporary writers around.Veronika Schuchter, Die Furche
Radka Denemarková writes from within, yet without focusing on herself. A decidedly political writer, she uses her experience, travels and convictions to draw attention to foreign worlds, portray socially relevant topics, and condemn injustice. Her refusal to compromise goes hand in hand with a constant re-examination and reflection that is crafted with linguistic brilliance and profound insight.Jury of the Literary Prize of Styria (Austria)
Radka Denemarková has joined the ranks of those who can be expected to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.Daniela Strigl, Ex libris, ÖRF Ö1

Radka Denemarková: Příspěvek k dějinám radosti. Host, Brno 2014.

A Contribution to the History of Joy

Three years after the formally experimental ‘double-novel’ “Kobold”, Radka Denemarková comes with the book “Contribution to the History of Jo””. The new novel at least confirms the high quality guarantee that Denemarková’s name provides. And it confirms the impression that she actually keeps writing the same story, though each time in a completely different way. The story of how we lose ourselves.Petr A. Bílek, Respekt
It is a harrowing and disturbing novel, and that is why it rings so true.ZDF Mittagsmagazin
Radka Denemarková has managed to produce a novel that is startling, highly political and at that same time poetically dense.Die Furche
In love with language and metaphor, she is the great taboo-breaker and theme-setter of contemporary Czech literature.Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Radka Denemarková writes with great sensitivity and openness, without focusing attention on herself. As an engaged writer with a great deal of insight, she uses personal experiences, foreign travel experiences, and attitudes to draw attention to diverse foreign worlds, portray socially crucial topics, and provide a complex intellectual and artistic testimony. Her intransigence goes hand in hand with a profound reflection that constantly re-examines all events and circumstances of human destinies: she does so in unison with linguistic brilliance and depth of content.Jury of the Literary Prize of Styria

Radka Denemarková: MY 2 (2014)

US 2

What are we looking for in life? Our own place? Meaning? Balance? Are we looking for anything else but fun? There are many questions; yet each individual has diverse answers. In case we are looking for something, we may not be even able to name that. Protagonists of Denemarková’s book US 2 are looking for balance. At least the author says so. But the reality may be different.Jiří Lojín, VašeLiteratura.cz

Radka Denemarková: Spací vady (2012)

Sleeping Disorders

A clash of an early industrial social structure with the world of modern age ruled by money, business and technology of the 20th century. But the main line wrapping the three female writers indicates not only the contrast of time, but also the mutual psychological connections which have been (and unfortunately continuing being) a problem a woman – author is preoccupied with.Iveta Svobodová, Topzine.cz

Radka Denemarková: Kobold (2011)

Kobold

Denemarkova’s voluminous book “Kobold” offers a very demanding, yet completely unique narrative experiment. It brings together in one book a novel “Surplus of Tenderness (On water)” and a novelette “Surplus of People (On fire)”. The two parts of Kobold start on the opposite sides of the book and the author gives readers the liberty of whether to connect the two parts or not and to what extent, while also offering a choice of which part to read first. In this way we deal with an “open work” or a “partiture”, which engages readers and requires them to make their own interpretations. Both stories are, like the two elements in the subtitle, mutually exclusive, but also compatible at the same time. The novel “Surplus of Tenderness” spreads over a vast timeline of 20th-century historical landmarks , but also across various spaces, which function in both their literal and symbolic sense. “Surplus of People”, on the other hand, focuses on one particular space/time and is linked to the wider context only by the parallel novel. Both the novel and the novelette feature largely depressive narratives of human cruelty, misunderstanding and fading away, with tragic consequences…Petr A. Bílek, Jury of the Czech Book Prize

Radka Denemarková: Smrt nebudeš se báti, aneb příběh Petra Lébla. Host, 2008.

Death, Thou Shall Not Be Afraid: The Story of Petr Lébl

Death, thou shall not be afraid, or the story of Petr Lébl“ by Radka Denemarková reads as a big novel, but its core lies in everyday writings. Using correspondence, diaries, historical documents, personal experience and eyewitness memories, the author has created something in a style of an extensive biographical reportage in which she deals in detail not only with the Icarus-like fate of a gifted playwright, but also depicts the changes in the spirit of the times from mid-eighties till the end of the nineties. The portrayal of recent history is presented not only through the artist’s biography, but also by interpretation of his stage plays, where the Zeitgeist could be seen in poetic and visual shortcuts and free associations and metaphors. The book also deals with the timeless topic of a strong personality, whose extraordinary charisma and talent stemmed in part from a mental disease. The author was able to balance a romantic approach with a critical one: she has not simplified the problem, but allowed it to sound out in its full complicity. It is quite obvious from the text that her pursuit of finding an appropriate form for Lebl’s story was long and demanding. That is part of the reason she created such an unusual piece of work, unparalleled so far in our literature.Jury of the Magnesia Litera Prize
Could be read as an unusual fact-based testimony to a double struggle to find one’s own identity: at first the struggle of the novel’s main character, and later, deeper into the text, also the struggle of the novel’s author herself.Viola Fischerová, Lidové noviny BOOK OF THE YEAR 2009 opinion poll

Radka Denemarková: Peníze od Hitlera (2006)

Money from Hitler

Six chapters, six attempts to return home to the place of the happy pre-war childhood of Gita Lauschmann, whose family only learned about their Jewish heritage when they were dragged into the concentration camps. The first attempt opens the second and longer post-war act of the historical tragedy: the villagers are trying, by confiscating Gita’s family’s property and land, to get rid of two children who returned from the camp. They manage to kill and bury the boy, but Gita survives. The sombre shadow of the murder and of the unjust theft brings the villagers close together. When, sixty years later, Gita reappears one summer, they are scared and refuse to accept her as one of them, even though she does not intend to get her property back, but only seeks a symbolic expression of justice for her father. The five summertime returns show Gita how difficult it is to admit to being guilty of a crime, especially when a whole village participated in it. Great, dark and very current story, reaching the depths of an ancient drama.Jury of the Magnesia Litera Prize
Reading Money from Hitler (Peníze od Hitlera) is a mind shattering experience. The novel tells a classical story of persecution and expulsion, but also of a fight for justice. Radka Denemarková has made a major contribution, with a literary mastery, to the extensive chronicles of the history of German-Czech-Jewish relationships.Jury of the Georg Dehio Prize
Radka Denemarková is to receive the Georg Dehio Book Prize on 29 November 2012 in Berlin for her novel MONEY FROM HITLER. The Georg Dehio Book Prize is awarded by German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe to writers, who throughout their works thoroughly investigate the common cultural heritage and traditions in each of the eastern European regions that have been inhabited by Germans over history, and thus contribute to mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The winners are to be announced in autumn 2012 in Berlin. The Georg Dehio Book Prize winners for 2012 are Peter Demetz for lifetime achievement and Radka Denemarková for her book Money from Hitler (Peníze od Hitlera). The prize is named after Georg Dehio (1850–1932), a German art historian, whose approach to regional context and heritage conservation also became a base for the work of the German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe. This year’s jury members are: Bernd Busch (German Academy for Language and Literature, Darmstadt, Germany). Blanka Mouralová (Collegium Bohemicum, Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic). Martin Pollack (author and translator, Bocksdorf, Austria). Manfred Sapper (Osteuropa magazine, Berlin, Germany). Stefan Sienerth (Institute for German Culture and History in Southeast Europe, Munich, Germany). Beate Störtkuhl (Federal Institute for the Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe, Oldenburg, as a representative of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, Germany).Ernest Wichner, Literaturhaus Berlin, Germany
Returning from the concentration camp does not bring the end to evil – that’s one of the ways to characterize Radka Denemarková’s book “Money from Hitler: A Summer Mosaic”. It is not a novelty of this year, it was released six years ago, it also got the second edition (2009) and subsequent reprinting this year. Meanwhile, the novel was able to collect several awards – Magnesia Litera in 2007, Usedom Literary Prize in 2011, and the most recent German Georg Dehio Book Prize (2012).Jiří Lojín, VašeLiteratura.cz

2005_A ja porad kdo to tluce_1_CZ

The Devil by the Nose

The title of the book, “The Devil by the Nose”, will probably be familiar to everyone, all we have to do is recall a part of the nursery rhyme. However, the author, Radka Denemarková, has modified it. Actually, not her, but her heroine, the writer Birgit Stadtherrová. Her outrageous mind tells her that the rhymes should prepare children for life – rough, full of unscrupulous people.Jiří Lojín, VašeLiteratura.cz

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