Author: Pavel Vilikovský
Translators: Julia & Peter Sherwood
Pavel Vilikovský’s novella Fleeting Snow (Letmý sneh, 2014) is full of gentle reminiscences about a life shared, as the narrator looks back on a long marriage and muses on issues ranging from human nature and the soul, to names and the phonetics of Slovak and indigenous American Indian languages. The book deals with the subject of memory loss in an informal, humorous style whose lightness of touch belies the seriousness of his themes.
The book’s title refers to its recurring central motif: an avalanche whose inexorable descent cannot be stopped once the critical mass of snow has begun to roll, echoing the unstoppable process of memory loss. Five themes or storylines, intertwined in passages of varying lengths, are labelled with letters of the alphabet and numbers in a playful allusion to scholarly works and musical compositions.
'Pavel Vilikovský is recognized as one of the most prominent authors of post-Communist Central Europe. In this creatively structured short novel, he presents, in Čimborazka, a digressive, eccentric narrator, reminiscent of Bohumil Hrabal’s loquacious protagonists. The lighthearted tone at the opening belies the depth.'
Joe Schrieber, Roughghosts
'Pavel Vilikovský’s novel is a miracle of origami: an extensive and elaborate narrative unfolds from a very slim volume. . . Fleeting Snow is a reference to unmelted snow in shaded mountain clefts and a nod to the novel’s leitmotif of an avalanche, sweeping away the mind in dementia, languages in depopulation, love in habituation, and so on.'
Donald Rayfield, Literary Review
'Vilikovský’s prose, in Julia and Peter Sherwood’s translation, is light and graceful; and the tone is more often gently humorous than elegiac. This is an unusual and original work that resists easy categorisation and repays careful reading.'
Fiona Graham. Riveting Reviews
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