Jan Balabán

Jan Balabán (1961)

Worked as a translator and published his early literary efforts in Revolver Revue at the beginning of the '90s. After two novels, Černý beran (Black Ram, 2000) and Kudy šel anděl (Where The Angel Trod, 2003), he returned to the short story genre with a book of stories, Možná že odcházíme (Maybe We're Leaving, 2004), declared Book of the Year 2004 in the competition run by the Lidové noviny newspaper; it won the 2005 Magnesia Litera Prize for prose and was nominated for the State Prize for Literature in 2004. The basic motifs of Balabán's stories are different variations on anguish and solicitude. Typically, the reader shares with Balabán's heroes a "normal" day, or part of one. This is another day full of reproach, frustration and uselessness. The cyclical nature of the anguish shows in the stereotyped reactions to it the characters have learned. They retire into themselves and wait patiently for the depression to subside. These are mainly stories of loneliness and a lack of ability to agree with others. In the book Jsme tady (We're Here, 2006), he uses larger narrative breadth, in which he depicts characters searching for their place and sense of direction in breaking points when the lives they have lived so far tumble down.

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