SHORT STORIES

Snídaně na refýži

Snidane na refyzi
The Breakfast on Safety Island
(Hynek, 1998)

This collection of early short stories involves eight short works of prose which were written from 1990 until 1996. One of the Czech reviewers, Dora Kapralová, compared the style of these stories in her review to the early short stories written by young Truman Capote.
The slow action of these simple stories and the concentration on the main epic line enables the author to focus on the internal developments and upon the emotions of the hero. The protagonist each of these stories is called Pavel. In each case, though he is not one and the same character, he is always a fragile, melancholy young man from the countryside of the South Bohemia. Many of these short stories have been dramatized for radio broadcasting.

Dřevěný nůž

Dreveny nuz
The Wooden Knife
(Host 2004) >>> excerpt

It´s a collection of twelve short stories which are connected through the environment of the
South Bohemian countryside. Small human dramas of everyday´s life which flow like a river without pathos or spectacularity. The time period between the first story (Memories of a Village Dancing in 1986) and the last story (Melancholic Leaves From the Autumn Trees of Democracy) lasts for 10 years. What does this period of time mean in the ordinary life of the main figures?


Fotbalové deníky

Fotbalove deniky
Football Diaries
(Host 2007)

Men come from the Mars, women  come from Venus – this opinion is quite common. Honza Prevorsky is a man in his forties. He owns a good car, is a little bit overweight and football is his passion. He believes two football  teams exist – one made up of men and the other of women. They   constantly  fight  with each other and when it comes to harshness their fights can be compared to the English league when it comes to harshness. In Jiri Hajicek ´s new narrative these two worlds meet and there is no winner.
In June 2006, just as the football World Cup is beginning in Germany, instead of journeying around the German stadiums as originally planned, due to a strange coincidence, Honza finds himself in a car with a 19-year old girl. He has known her for just a week but he is much closer to her than he first thinks. Instead of German motorways, there are minor roads in need of repair; instead of hotels, there are  mostly  dusty, blue-collar lodging houses and  even a  sleepover on the airbed. Simona and Honza's curious summer trip seems to be endless, going round and round in circles, bordered by the results of the matches of the Czech  National  Team, with their hopes and disappointments. In this “football road movie” the feelings of a quadragenarian tackle more than the game of football. This man seemingly lacks nothing, but still he suffers from feelings of loneliness and emptiness.
In this novella, in contrast to his successful novel Rustic Baroque / Selský baroko, Jiri Hajicek does not  get involved in  heavy historical issues,  but readers will find many  typical  things  here from Hajicek´s rural writings.

Vzpomínky na jednu vesnickou tancovačku

Vzpomínky na jednu venkovskou tancovačku

(Host 2014)

Selected stories from 1995–2014.

NOVELS

Zloději zelených koní

Zlodeji zelenych koni
The Green Horse Rustlers
(Host 2001) >>> excerpt

This novel is a present time story from the Czech countryside dealing with the long-lasting problem of illegal mining of Moldavite stones in the South Bohemia. Moldavites are original Czech semi-precious gem stones which are a result of a meteorite impact that occured 15 milion years ago. Moldvites were created through the fusion with earth material that sprayed out of the crater formed by that crash. They resemble green glass with peculiar distortions on the surface and they often have bubbles trapped inside.
This is a dramatic story of several Moldavite-diggers as they evolve in their uncontrolled passion for their quest. The story of their illegal search for the magic minerals is a backdrop for even more dramatic episodes dealing with relationships and emotions of these main characters, including friendship, love, betrayal and disappointment. The author´s style of writing is almost documentary and matter-of-fact, which makes his book even more thrilling.


The novel was translated into the Hungarian and was published by Magus (Budapest) in 2003.


Dobrodruzi hlavního proudu

Dobrodruzi hlavniho proudu
The Mainstream Adventurers
(Host 2002)

It´s a classic tale set in the real world of the 1990s in Bohemia. Pavel and Dominika get to know one another at the end of the 1980s, but the passion of their early love is followed by the gradual disintegration of their relationship. Both have the feeling that the political and social changes of 1989 in Czechoslovakia have created the space in which they can realize their dreams while Pavel is bitten by the business bug, believing this to be the area in which he will find himself, Dominika leaves for France to search for her relatives and uncover her roots. The novel's plot is packed with dramatic events in which we often encounter the political realities of the 1990s (including restitution, racketeering, bankruptcy, imprisonment, the opportunity to travel abroad to the west, something which was almost unheard of before the Velvet Revolution).

Hájicek's novel is vivid in its depictions in as much as that the author never allows himself to be drawn away from the authenticity of his setting, nor does he allow his gaze to be deflected from observation of the developments and changes that his heroes undergo, right up to the event which pitches them (as if) back to the beginning of their relationship. The novel, as a whole, pose – albeit in various mutations – a single question: is it possible to go back and start anew?


Selský baroko

Selsky baroko
Rustic Baroque
(Host 2005) >>> excerpt

The novel Rustic Baroque is built up in two time levels and presents a story from today´s Czech countryside and at the same time takes the reader back to the 1950s Czechoslovakia.
In the decade after 1948, when the Communist Regime seized power, the Czech countryside suffered the so-called „collectivisation“, a process of forced transformation of private farms into state-controlled co-operatives in compliance with the Soviet lines with the sole purpose of eliminating one whole social class: big private landowners. Through brutal coecion, intimidation, imprisonment as well as through provocation and arranged trials, the peasants were pressured to surrender their land and livestock to these newly established co-operatives.

Surprisingly, this matter, which was long tabooed and exclusively treated in a tendentious and biased maner in Communist Eastern Europe, didn´t receive much reflection after the fall of the Communist Regime.

This novel won the „Magnezia Litera“ award 2006 as the best Czech book of prose. It also won the Third Place in the „KNIHA ROKU“ – BOOK OF THE YEAR annual „Lidové noviny“ newspaper opinion poll 2005..

The main character of the story is the genealogist, Pavel Stranansky, a middle-aged man who makes his living by compiling family trees, especially for wealthy emigrants looking for their roots in their native country. He mostly spends his time in archives and has collected an enormous database of people , birth and death records, blood ties and property relations in his notebook. His main workplace is the State Archive in the little town of Trebon in Southern Bohemia. It´s here that novel´s plot starts to unfold. It´s a story of crime and passion that takes place within two months of one hot summer. Pavel Stranansky searches for the denouncement letter written in the 1950s which brought several people to the Communist jail at that time. The surprise ending of the novel evokes questions of guilt, revenge and pardon.

– translated into the Hungarian (Kalligram, 2008)
– translated into the Italian (Centro Full Service, 2009)

– translated into the Croatian (Disput, 2011)
– translated into the English (Real World Press, 2012)

– translated into the Bulgarian (Izida, 2016)


Fish Blood

Rybí krev
Fish Blood
(Host 2012)

Rybí krev - audiokniha

Rybí krev
Fish Blood
(audiobook)
(Radioservis / One Hot Book 2013)

TIn this novel the author continues his exploration of the Czech village. The theme of the displacement and demolition of a community in South Bohemia so that a nuclear power station can take its place in the late 1980s is certailnly a topical one that needs to be addressed at a time when the future of other villages is under threat - at any place in the world really. But Fish Blood is not any old "green novel"; above all it is an absorbing human story of three friends from a small village whom fate has scattered across the world. It is a story with strong echoes of longing for family cohesion, a story about the power of love and forgiveness.

– translated into the Macedonian (Begemot, 2014)
– translated into the Belarusian (Logvino, 2015)

– translated into the Polish (Ksiaskowe Klimaty, 2015)
– translated into the Bulgarian (Paradox, 2016)


Dešťová hůl

Dešťová hůl
The Rainstick
(Host 2016)

Jiří Hájíček follows his literary investigation of the Czech village of the past with a novel set in the present. Zbyněk, a land administrator, meets a former love he hasn’t seen for many years, in order to help her with an apparently simple property-related problem. Having returned to the country village in which he was born and grew up, Zbyněk is gradually apprised of the unclear circumstances of a land dispute; at the same time he becomes embroiled in personal and marital crisis. He struggles with insomnia, loses his way in the countryside and cadastral maps, while a crazy 18th-century rustic aviator hovers above him like an apparition. A turning point is reached when Zbyněk goes into battle with his face covered in war paint so as “not to wake up as someone else one day”..


ANTHOLOGIES

Antologie nové české literatury 1995 – 2004

Antologie nove ceske literatury 1995 – 2004
Anthology of the New Czech Literature 1995 – 2004
(FRA 2004)

Leonardův kabinet

Leonarduv kabinet
Leonardo's Cabinet
(Listen 2006)

Blata (a short story)

The Short Story of the Year 2007

Povídka roku 2007
The Short Story of the Year 2007
(Literární noviny 2008)

Bubny a dýmovnice (a short story)
- winner of the November's round of "The Short Story of the Year"


7edm

Almanach 7edm
(Theo, 2008)

Bay Watch (a short story)

Šťastné a veselé...

Stastne a vesele... 2
(Listen, 2008)

Andel na pude (a short story)

Povídka roku 2007

Tjeckien berättar: I sammetens spår (Czechia tells stories: The Velvet Tracks)
(Tranan, Stockholm 2009)

Anthology of the current Czech prose.
Dreveny nuz (a short story).


Die Horen

Neue Literatur aus Tschechien
(Wallstein Verlag, Germany 2012)

Antthology of new Czech literature in the magazine Die Horen. Preview from a novel Fish Blood.

Coama leului pe perna

Coama leului pe pernă
(Editura Arc, Moldova 2013)

Antthology of contemporary Czech literature. A short story Melancholické lístečky

Best European Fiction 2017

Best European Fiction 2017
(Dalkey Archive Press, USA, 2016)

Lion Cubs (a short story)