The Book with the Red Cover

Alexandra Berková

Alexandra Berková: The Book with the Red Cover

Original title: Knížka s červeným obalem

Genre: short stories


Mladá fronta 1986, 1986; Petrov 2003

ISBN: 80-7227-152-0

Pages: 168

Foreign editions:

Slovenian (Police Dubove, 2016, Tatjana Jamnik)


When this collection of short stories first came out, it was published in 60,000 copies that vanished from the bookshops in one morning: such was the reaction of readers hungry for non-commercial, impartial and authentic writing. Such also was the intensity of the author’s need to be heard by the public. These stories, in which the author contemplates various feminine topics, have lost none of their power, even many years after their first publication.


"Berková gives herself up to a continuous statement; her sentences are broken in the middle and she quickly alternates short speeches from many of the book’s large cast of characters. The humdrum of everyday life changes abruptly into a totally absurd, even comical strangeness. Her scenes are almost surreal; fantastic situations are followed by nursery rhymes and a large dose of irony. Her story does not let the reader rest, but demands attention and co-operation with unusual vigour. Berková uses deftly the tool of authorial commentary that resembles director’s notes in a screenplay; she inserts stories into stories to create a multi-storey literary dome, which moves about with freedom within levels of time and the story. This is complicated writing at its best, a clearly constructed and well-thought-out literary achievement."
Marta Ljubková, iliteratura

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