(Thomas Storey)

Thursday 4 May 2017
by  NLLG

Case Closed

Thomas Storey

24 April 2017

A detective thriller which takes Prague as its subject, Patrik Ouředník’s Case Closed is a satirical swipe at the cynicism of the 21st century Czech Republic. Ouředník’s novel depicts a sudden eruption of crime in a sleepy Prague neighborhood, but it quickly transcends the detective genre to become something weirder and more experimental. This is largely due to its form, in which each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective. These often contradictory voices cohere into a parable about the failures of language and communication, in which the solipsism of each individual character is given narrative expression. Ouředník, who has translated Beckett, creates a similarly murky and opaque world where authority is not to be trusted and justice is a nebulous and romantic concept. His strange, caustic novel is ultimately a satire of modern day Prague, which has escaped the shackles of post-Communist poverty, only to find the ideals of the Velvet Revolution lost in a mire of consumerism.