The House before the Square

Markéta Hejkalová

Markéta Hejkalová: The House before the Square

Original title: Dům pod náměstím

Genre: novel


Host, 2022

ISBN: 978-80-275-1252-2

Pages: 256

Rights sold to:

Italy (Acquario Editore)


Novel about the fleeting nature of time and the unchangeability of human lives.


An old house on the main street by the square of a small town in the Vysočina region has memories of its own. As the lives of its occupants have been written into its walls since 1695, it has plenty to tell. And tell it does – of days in the late 19th century, when it first housed a knitting workshop (which later became a factory that is still in operation today); of a brave young man called Josef Vlkovský, who opened a grocer’s shop here in 1925; of a rapid rise in trade and the opening of a wholesaler’s; of restrictions imposed by war, family tragedies, nationalization, confiscation of property. The story of the house is intertwined with the tragic tale of the general manager of the Knopa textile factory. It moves on to new beginnings through the changes of the 1990s all the way to the present day. Time passes, but the Vlkovský's grocer's shop remains. By the efforts of a student called Anežka, the present holds out a hand of reconciliation to the past.     

"Each of the people who ran these organizations – carriage workshop, monks’ convent, knitting workshop, grocer’s store – had a story of their own, and it is about these that the novel tells us. The course of time brings many changes, but these are only in backdrops and external matters. People’s lives today are basically the same as they were one hundred and more years ago," explains the author.   

"At a brisk pace, Markéta Hejkalová’s book describes the life stories of the people of a small town as written by history. The colourful story is composed of a mosaic of characters and events, unconventionally told by an old house near the town square."
Alena Mornštajnová, writer

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