Return of the Old Komodo Dragon

Michal Ajvaz

Michal Ajvaz: Return of the Old Komodo Dragon

Original title: Návrat starého varana


Vražda v hotelu Intercontinental: Mladá fronta, 1989; Vražda v hotelu Intercontinental and Návrat starého varana: Mladá fronta, 1991; Hynek, 2000; Druhé město, 2012

Foreign editions:

Vražda v hotelu Intercontinental – Polish (Pogranicze, 2005, Leszek Engelking); Návrat starého varana – Hungarian (Kijarat, 2004, Krisztian Benyovszky), Polish (Pogranicze, 2005, Leszek Engelking), Russian (Azbuka, 2004, Jekaterina Bobrakova-Timoškina), German (Větrné mlýny/Wieser Verlag, 2019, Veronika Siska)


Annotation of the book published by Hynek (2000): This volume contains the author’s poetry debut – a collection called Murder in the Intercontinental Hotel / Vražda v hotelu Intercontinental, first published in 1989, together with a collection of short stories, Return of the Old Komodo Dragon / Návrat starého varana, first published in 1991. Though one part of this volume is a collection of verse and the other short stories, the union is not inorganic. The fundamental structural principle is the same in both: the logically real space of Prague is disrupted by fantastic ideas that, somewhat surprisingly, do not disrupt the illusion of reality.


Annotation of the book published by Druhé město (2012) under the title Murder of the Old Komodo Dragon / Vražda starého varana:

Michal Ajvaz’s first two books – the poems Murder at the Intercontinental Hotel (1989) and the short stories Return of the Old Komodo Dragon (1991) – appear in a single attractive volume, with an afterword by the author about the workings of his mind when he reads his old books. “On reading my first two books after some years,” he writes, “I am reminded of the later 1980s, when they originated. I find myself in an atmosphere of timelessness, an omnipresent premonition of transformation, the magical rule of space over time. Images emerge of my wanderings in the streets of Prague, and of sitting around in the Prague cafés and bistros of the time…”

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