Original title: Liška v dámu
Druhé město, 2019
Jiří Kratochvil is not the first writer to be enchanted by the fox – a symbol of freedom, ruthlessness, cunning and red-haired beauty. For instance, David Garnett’s novel Lady into Fox (1922) inspired Vercors to write Sylva (1961), in which a fox transforms into a woman. Kratochvil has brought these two stories together and set the result in the 1950s, a time when a merciless regime with a Steward at its head and in which tomorrow means yesterday, is crushing human lives and suffocating freedom.
One storyline begins at the Pavlov Institute, where it proves possible to endow a fox cub with reason before turning it into a human being; naturally, this human is beautiful, and naturally, she is given a secret assignment. A second storyline is set in Brno, where an intelligent young labourer is being processed for service with the State Security police. Though trained for operations of many different kinds, the foxy beauty has no notion of emotion in general and love in particular – her comrade trainers have underestimated her need to understand them. We witness a tale of passion in which Sylva the fox falls in love with Pavel the labourer. Love is hope and a path to freedom. There is no need to reveal more.