Original title: Vzpomínky na jednu vesnickou tancovačku
Genre: short stories
Bulgarian (Geia-Libris, 2017, Jordanka Trifonova), German (selected stories – Větrné mlýny/Wieser Verlag, 2019, Julia Miesenböck)
Written between 1995 and 2014, these twenty stories are set in rural South Bohemia. The reader encounters everyday mini-dramas, episodes that mark the canvas of great events of history or that merely capture a mood, and the dominant feelings and experiences of peculiar as well as seemingly ordinary individuals. Hájíček evokes vividly the atmosphere of a landscape as we join the characters in wading through fallen leaves, fingering the stalks of flowering grasses, turning our face to the sun and braving the cold in a shabby overcoat. Tales of Christmas and legends of the village football team have a special place here. The author makes no attempt to disguise the odour of the region; indeed, he exploits it to spice up and peculiarize his universal human stories.
The main attributes of Hájíček’s writing are as follows: unpretentiousness in terms of style, heroes and the stories themselves, intimate knowledge of a rural environment, depiction of atmosphere. For this author the return to realism and straightforward narration is not a choice but a matter of course arising out of his themes and the very substance of his prose.
The short-story collection Memories of a Village Dance completes the picture of Jiří Hájíček as a novelist of provincial life, and as such it is a fine addition to the body of prose he has produced.