By Tomáš Zmeškal
Set in Czechoslovakia among the Nineteen Forties and the Nineteen Nineties, Tomáš Zmeškal's stimulating novel specializes in one family's tragic tale of affection and the unstated. Josef meets his spouse, Kveta, prior to the second one international conflict at a public lecture on Hittite tradition. Kveta chooses to marry Josef over their mutual buddy Hynek, but if her husband is later arrested and imprisoned for an unnamed crime, Kveta supplies herself to Hynek in go back for aid and recommendation. the writer explores the complexities of what's now not spoken, what can't be acknowledged, the repercussions of silence after a tribulation, the absurdity of forgotten soreness, and what it's to be an outsider.
In Zmeškal's story, instructed now not chronologically yet really as a mosaic of occasions, time progresses erratically and unpredictably, as does one's figuring out. The saga belongs to a selected relations, however it additionally exposes the bigger, ongoing fight of postcommunist jap Europe to return to phrases with discomfort while catharsis is denied. Reporting from a clean, multicultural viewpoint, Zmeškal makes a welcome contribution to ecu literature within the twenty-first century.
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Additional info for A Love Letter in Cuneiform
When he awoke, as she recalls, he put his false teeth back and addressed her Voyage in the Dark 35 benignly. Nevertheless Anna was traumatized into an immobile silence; and the lesson learned, that wolves lurk in sheep’s clothing, bears the stamp of an insouciant and ubiquitous but extremely forceful masculine economy. Ultimately Voyage presents social control where it traditionally belongs: quite literally in the hands of men. ” The large fingers signifying phallic prowess, and his distance from Anna—he will not touch her directly, skin on skin—speak to the order of things in the social milieu and a reminder of Anna’s position as a woman.
In charting the process by which a mask of femininity is crafted, Anna’s narrative throws into relief an infantile strategy serving interrelated functions: compensating the hungry daughter for her missing mother by attracting men to fill the empty space within her, the mask also deflects recognition of her sources of aggression so that she may be absorbed into the larger social body, no matter what the cost. Anna’s experience illustrates the primitive stages of female development as explicated by object relations theorists Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere, whose emphasis on the mother–infant dyad stressed preverbal, unsayable experiences of horror that continuously play on the emotional registers of the psyche in the course of later life.
Anna remembers that from an early age: “[. ] I hated being white. Being white and getting like Hester, and all the things you get—old and sad and everything. I kept thinking, ‘No. . No. . No. . ’ ” (72). Here Hester’s “whiteness” equates with vulnerability, with being too easily seen and read because of her maladroit posturing; her sadness is on display for the perceptive to notice, and her attempts to hide are ineffectual. In her decision to break off communications with Hester, Anna disowns connection with this particular model of womanhood.
A Love Letter in Cuneiform by Tomáš Zmeškal