Best for Everybody

Petra Soukupová

Petra Soukupová: Best for Everybody

Original title: Nejlepší pro všechny


Genre: novel


Publisher:

Host 2017


ISBN: 978-80-7577-400-2


Pages: 368


Awards:

shortlisted for Magnesia Litera for Prose and Czech Book Award


Foreign editions:

Polish (Afera, 2019), Macedonian (Antolog, 2019), Albanian (Ombra GVG, 2019), Slovenian (Celjska Mohorjeva Družba, 2020), Vietnamese (Vietnam Women's Publishing House, 2020)


Rights sold to:

Bulgaria (Alja), Hungary (Csirimojó), Ninawa (Syria)

Summary


If we don’t know how to be happy ourselves, how can we know what’s best for others?

 

Ten-year-old Viktor is a spoiled troublemaker who lives in Prague with his mother Hana, a theatre actress who struggles to manage her own life, let alone Viktor’s upbringing. One day, Hana receives an offer to appear in a serial to be shot at the other end of the republic, which she sees as an opportunity to solve all her problems. To free herself up for the filming, she sends Viktor to stay with his grandmother in the country, his resistance notwithstanding. She has convinced herself that a change in environment will be good for both him and her mother, who recently lost her husband and would be better off with someone to keep her company.

Feeling cheated and betrayed, Viktor is made more desperate still by his dominating grandmother, who has a clear idea of what his life and that of his mother should be like. In addition to the drama of Viktor’s acclimatization to the country, the novel follows Hana’s progress as she struggles with her role, Viktor, her mother and her occasional lovers. It also tells the story of a woman whose contact with her grandson leads her to realize her weaknesses and the inevitability of old age. And all of them want nothing but the best for each other.

One of Viktor’s most important experiences in the country provides the story for the book Who Killed Snowy / Kdo zabil Snížka?.

 

Note: Two books by Petra Soukupová have been published nearly at the same time in the Autumn 2017. „These two books — Who Killed Snowy?  and Best for Everybody — do and do not belong together. Each is and is not a part of the other, as a child is and is not a part of his parents. And as the book-child and book-parent gradually give up their stories, we come to understand that these are neither two separate stories nor the two halves of a whole. It is difficult to explain. But it is like one hand taking another.”, says about the latest works by Petra Soukupová Tomáš Baldýnský


Reviews

"The author confirms all her strong points in this book. She is a very good psychologist, her characters are full-blooded and their background is convincing.  (…) As for the dialogues, these are brilliant. (…) Petra Soukupová is at her peak. She has excellent reviews and excellent sales."

Milan Šefl, Týdeník Rozhlas

 

"This talented Czech writer has not let us down. She remains an excellent observer of relations. She writes sparingly and precisely. The dialogues in her books are not artificial, as if out of some failed serial. She does not need to flaunt her literary psychology, and she rejects the position of a cruel judge of character. Everything of importance is played out by her characters. If writing is to have a future, it is in this simple, civil form. That is and will be best for everybody. " 

Ľubomír Jaško, Knihy na dosah

 

"Petra Soukupová has written another brilliant study of family suffering  (…). Without abandoning the ordinary and the everyday, her study of family relations aspires to the success of her book To Disappear / Zmizet."

Lucie Zelinková, Právo

 

"Petra Soukupová is convincing from the very first pages of her every text. She is a unique narrator, totally immersed in the minds of the young boy, his mum and grandma."

Jan Štifter, Barbar

 

"Again she has put the everyday life of a dysfunctional family under the microscope – this time comprising an ambitious mother, a naughty ten-year-old son and a tired country grandmother – with all the usual domestic quarrels, spiteful acts, obstinacies, harassment and rituals. With her deft narration she draws the reader into a microworld that is believable thanks to the authentic language and the true-to-life nature of the characters. "

Pavla Horáková, Salon

 

"In this her latest book, Petra Soukupová has maintained her position as an excellent prose writer about our traumas. She is again very convincing in her ability to write excellent dialogues and above all to create vivid characters which the readers may constantly disagree or sympathize with, if they wish. (...)  

Best for Everybody / Nejlepší pro všechny is a clever, dark "relationship story", an examination of the microcosm of a single family, and although it is a heavy novel that could be used as a subject for films by Petr Václav or Bohdan Sláma because of its hopelessness, it is a straightforward read, thus confirming that Petra Soukupová still manages to describe family traumas in a lively way."

Jakub Kára, Host

 

"Petra Soukupová has honed her conception of psychological literature to perfection – this time she has even divided up the multiplicity of standpoints  adumbrating the complexity of human relations into two books. Whereas Best for Everybody / Nejlepší pro všechny is for adult readers, Who Killed Snowy? / Kdo zabil Snížka? is for children, though basically these are one and the same fabula presented by several narrators."

Kateřina Čopjaková, Respekt

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