Original title: Liliputin. Povídky z války
Genre: short stories
Rights sold to:
English world rights (Seagull Books, India / England)
Somewhere in the human heart lies Red Square.
A Czech in Ukraine in search of his alter ego. A gang of homeless kids driven from a cellar by tenants using it as a shelter from the war. A German couple who ‘rented a womb’ in Ukraine, whose child is now stuck in Kyiv. A teenager partnered with a Valkyrie for the distribution of lavash in besieged Mariupol, who delays his flight until it is too late. A Russian woman academic mounting a protest in the centre of Moscow, in a costume from Swan Lake. They may not be soldiers at the front, but for the characters in these stories, life will never again be as it was before the war.
Jan Němec has produced a work that could hardly be more different from Ways of Writing about Love / Možnosti milostného románu, his previous fiction. One thing hasn’t changed, though: he is writing not about ‘themes’ but about what really matters in life.
‘The war fuelled me with an anger I needed to write about. I wanted to know what fiction can do right now – without the benefit of hindsight, without separation by several hundred kilometres. I wrote five stories – two of the west, two Ukrainian, one Russian – as someone might light one cigarette after another. They all talk about war, but it’s not always clear who the enemy is,’ says the author.