Original title: Stvoření
A chronicle of a private apocalypse. First fruit of the award‑winning screenwriter.
Although Bumblebee has been in the world for almost ten years, he is still getting used to the place. Perhaps this is because of his grey, housing‑estate surroundings; maybe it’s because of the people stranded in the shallows of his dreams. Whatever it is, the world according to Bumblebee is coming to an end. All he needs to do now is endure without pain the godforsaken boredom known as life.
But a surprise encounter will change Bumblebee’s life fundamentally. Here-boy the dog, subjected to torture in the cellar of a deranged neighbour, would surely have perished had the boy not taken pity on him. To save Here-boy, Bumblebee must acquire certain adult behaviours. For the sake of his new friend, he must learn to keep quiet, look away, pretend, steal and lie. And something else besides — it turns out that the only thing that can keep Hereboy alive is human flesh. The alliance between a non‑dead animal and a child with the gift of an uncontrollable imagination soon goes beyond the confines of an ordinary boy‑dog relationship, so coming to represent an unexpected threat to the neighbourhood…
"One of a small group of contemporary Czech prose works worth reading. A remarkable debut, that’s for sure.
[…] With The Creation, Liška has issued a powerful challenge to the conventional assumption that a child is a repository of goodness who becomes corrupted by the world of adults. He achieves this through the central idea that instructive tales of heroism and simple advice on how to live better create a dangerous by-product that in the wrong or unprepared hands can become a weapon. Eugen Liška has succeeded in presenting this idea with great atmosphere and linguistic brilliance, so urging us to read his work from start to finish in a single sitting."
Petr A. Bílek, Hospodářské noviny
"The Creation by Eugen Liška is a bold literary experiment in which the metaphysical horror and the Bildungsroman come together to entertaining effect. What happens when the imagination of a naïve hero, the adventure-hungry schoolboy Bumblebee, becomes infected with the real world? Will he succeed in saving his dog friend from a miserable death, or in striking a crushing blow against the vampires, so many of whom are hidden among the population? And what will happen when he meets the Creator?"
Marek Jančík, Iliteratura.cz
The horror of growing up on a housing estate
"The debut novel of screenwriter Eugen Liška jr. mixes seemingly divergent genres in a manner uncommon in Czech fiction. This story of a lonely ten-year-old boy whose family are as dismal as the prefabricated high-rise they live in (a building filled with strange characters), appears at first glance to be a social drama. But from the opening pages, we find ourselves stumbling into the kind of grand words and original metaphors one would expect from epic fiction. But why shouldn’t the hero be a boy nicknamed Bumblebee, who has a brave heart to go with his lively imagination?
The Creation reminds us of Let the Right One In, the vampire horror set on a Swedish housing estate. But in that case, it was clear that author John Lindqvist was allegorizing growing up and that the horror was realistic. Liška’s world is more mysterious. Many of its questions remain unresolved; it is up to the reader to decide what is a metaphor, what is a product of the hero’s imagination, and what is a depiction of the origination of a dark soul. None of this detracts from the power with which this book excites horror and portrays the fragility of a child’s psyche."
Veronika Havlová, Respekt
The housing estate as labyrinth
"Eugen Liška’s novel The Creation occupies the borderlands of horror and the Bildungsroman. Its protagonist is a ten-year-old boy who is struggling with apocalyptic visions of a world in which the Creator is coming “with an army of cosmic atom bombs and black holes to show us what for”."
Dominik Melichar, A2
The flight of the Bumblebee. A powerful debut novel by screenwriter Eugen Liška
"Beware of debut novels by screenwriters! So much dormant energy waiting for release from the confines of the language of film, where expression must be plainer. Eugen Liška (b. 1981) has written a novel that is a painful read. The Creation is about a wretched present-day.
Who knows what it is. A sociological or psychological study? Horror fiction? The story of a difficult boyhood and children’s cruelty? What is clear is that style and shape are in rare harmony. The Creation is an extraordinary success!"
Jakub Šofar, Reflex