Original title: Alfa Centauri
Druhé město, 2013
“Perhaps I should introduce myself at the very beginning.” With these words a young man called Jonáš opens this short novel by Jiří Kratochvil. We learn that the infant Jonáš was found during a torrential downpour in a deserted tram, compared to the belly of a whale in a stormy sea. Years later Charlie, a homeless man of mystery and ‘many trades’ who appears to have lost his memory, enters Jonáš’s life with fateful results. Charlie takes an ever more lively interest in Jonáš’s education; it seems that he is preparing the boy for something extraordinary. Although the circumstances are unclear, our two heroes have not met in Brno’s Cerná Pole by chance ... This work is a typical demonstration of the great breadth of Kratochvil’s imagination and his ability to produce intricate stories and unexpected finales.