Tsum | Review: Lidmila Kabrtová – Places in the Dark

Cabinet with lab animals

It is human nature to put everything in boxes. It is also clear that literature, while its strength lies in diversity, infinity, experience, celebration of originality, a just-shifting vision of reality, must always be called under a slogan: it does not matter whether it is exactly so. The writing is correct.

So there is no lightning and thunder places in the dark Written by Czech writer Lidmila Kapertova, a collection of short stories, memoirs, novels, frame stories, or whatever it’s called. The format of the book as a whole is subject to inclination. Twelve passages, a story, a front chapter, in which the characters grope in the dark sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. They are misled, go through a crisis, or, on the contrary, come to a clear understanding, freeing themselves night and noon.

Light up the characters and glory in their minds. No one is alien to them. And this creates a recognition, a great intuition, of astonishment, but also, well, an admiration with which Kábrtová knows how to watch meticulously, very carefully, our accomplishments, our humanity, and our weaknesses. Well, what kind of book are you if you can’t convey feelings. Spots in the Dark’s lyrics are warm and second at the same time, never spoiled by the greasy sauce of emotion.

The opening text of “The Nymph,” for example, is an introductory talk in the foreground. An introduction, as it were, to the wonderful, oh horror, world of a literary evening, while at the same time the reader is introduced precisely to youth, the difficult approach of the opposite sex and the sheer jealousy of one of our Magdalenes. Nice and casual, with a well-drained italic sentence that only changes the scenery, it makes the reader jump from one leg to the other. Is it really jealousy that makes her disparage the “Horse Face” editor who came with Peter? Specifically the phrase “could have been”. Continuing, “…how were things with Peter at the time.” This is the introduction to the frappe. Why do girls with horse faces and small breasts hate it? How did you play a big role in her childhood? Who is she really craving now?

Kábrtová has a style that is straightforward and appropriate in its simplicity, but as usual in good (Bohemian) literature, everything is brewing under the skin. You immerse yourself in the lyrics, in the lives of girls and young women, and notice an almost physical reaction. A bit of indignation, anger, admiration for self-knowledge, the way the protagonists deal with adversity, usually manage to free themselves, or at least ‘fight’.

Kábrtová is far from anecdotal, she writes in a pure manner No human conditionShe always manages to surprise with her combination of straightforwardness and tenderness. At one point, she’s pretty straightforward, and manages to portray Clara’s character in “Birthday Cakes” as someone who is being quietly bullied by her husband, Marek. But somehow, for the sake of peace, she jealously imposes on herself all the stifling rules. Finally, later in Places In The Dark, I realize it and manage to have a poetic breakdown. At that moment, that story opens, that passage, to use a big word, the reader comes to a new vision.

The use of multiple perspective is often a weakness for a writer, but here everything fits seamlessly. Elias in “In the Swan Constellation” is a priest in an abandoned parish, far from major cities. An extinct area, but he holds mass for a few old ladies, and regularly sits as a counselor in his office. Nobody comes. Until a younger woman appears in the back of the seats. Clara, the reader realizes. She does not pray, and always goes before the service ends. Elias will focus his sermons on her, waiting for Sundays with hope, in fact he lives for her. It’s nice how Clara and Elias take care of each other. There are many examples of these cross-links, sometimes raw, often poetic.

this way places in the dark A book that you can “live on” for a while, which makes re-reading enjoyable, and reveals more and more subtle feelings. It really doesn’t matter that all the main characters are girls and women. The scenes, circumstances, and vortices in which they find themselves are universal. Kábrtová is wonderfully laconic, in keeping with the best of Bohemian Moldovan traditions. This is quite an achievement when you also write about cell phones and trendy hair buns for men. places in the dark It is a delicate, hopeful book and a liberating reading experience.

Juice Power

Lydmila Captova – places in the dark. Translated from the Czech Kis Merckx. Pegasus, Amsterdam. 188 pages .22.50 euros.


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