New From Dalkey Archive Press: The Other City by Michal Ajvaz

Jeff VanderMeer • June 18th, 2009 @ 2:09 pm • Book Reviews

A short feature on Omnivoracious about Ajvaz’s The Other City. It achieves its effects in a minor key, but I found it satisfying.

With China Mieville guestblogging this week in connection with the release of The City & The City, I thought I might focus on a book that nicely co-exists with some of the fantastical concepts set out in Mieville’s novel, although very different in texture, intent, and execution. The Other City by Czech writer Michal Ajvaz repopulates the city of Kafka with ghosts, eccentrics, talking animals, and impossible statues. As the jacket copy reads, the novel serves as a kind of “guidebook to this invisible ‘other Prague,’ overlapping the workaday world: a place where libraries can turn into jungles, secret passages yawn beneath our feet, and waves lap at our bedspreads.”

4 Responses to “New From Dalkey Archive Press: The Other City by Michal Ajvaz”

  1. Bryan Russell says:

    I love Dalkey. What a great concept for a publishing house. If I had the money, I’d buy up their whole fiction collection. I love seeing the interesting stuff being done in other countries that would never normally appear over here. And I’ve heard good things about that one, particularly since I’ve had odd cities on my mind.

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Yeah-they’re awesome. I’ll be doing a longer feature about more of their recent titles soon.

  3. James says:

    I just ordered this for myself today, partly inspired by a display for independent publishers I set up in the bookstore. Way back when, Dalkey was the first press that I identified as having a distinct character. I noticed that a whole bunch of books on my shelf had the same colophon on the spine, and then I started seeking out more. I can’t say enough good stuff about what they’ve been doing for the past twenty-five years.

  4. Alex Carnegie says:

    Looks interesting. I’m currently about halfway through Meyrik’s ‘The Golem’ so it’d be good to move on to another Prague ‘on the other side of the mirror’ after that!

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