The poet, novelist and dramatist Petr Stančík considers reality to be an illusion, which can be created or even produced. In his books he presents a blend of facts, phantasmagoria, mystery and pleasures of life. Readers as well as literary critics love Stančík’s unique universe of fiction. He is the author of fourteen books, using a wide range of genres: novels, poetry, literary studies, children’s literature and theatre plays. For his novel Mlýn na mumie (Mummy Mill) the author received the prestigious Magnesia Litera Award in 2015.
Born in 1968, Stančík studied directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Today he earns his living as a copywriter and consultant. He lives with his wife and two daughters near Prague.
A selection of titles
A Tale of a Funnel Hole (O díře z trychtýře)
Publisher: Argo, Prague, 2016
Have you ever heard of a story whose main hero does not exist at all? In his artistic fairytale Petr Stančík tells us about a funnel hole. If you think about it, a hole in fact is nothing, right? But in this picture book a hole is a curious girl inhabiting the narrow end of a funnel, where she feels terribly lonely. One day she decides to escape and to search for friends. And that is the start of an astonishing adventure.
An Angel’s Egg (Andělí vejce)
Publisher: Druhé město, Brno, 2016
Genre: Comic horror based on historical facts
History books give 8 May 1945 as the date when World War II officially ended in Europe. Few people know that it lasted a few days longer. Peace celebrations were already well under way, but guns rattled on the demarcation line between the American and Russian army positions as late as 12 May 1945.
The author has chosen this lesser known historical event as the backdrop to his newest book, a comic horror full of unbridled imagination. The book blends two story lines: in the first one, we follow the story of the book’s protagonist, Augustin Hnát: his birth and youth in the countryside; meeting his first love; the battles of the First World War, which take him to the farthest reaches of Siberia; and finally, the 12th of May, 1945. The second story line describes the fateful last day, May 12, as experienced by Augustin Hnát, from dawn till dusk. Both story lines merge in a dramatic finale where there is nothing to laugh at any more.
“Inspired by Kafka, Petr Stančík dishes out a combination of carefully researched historical curiosities, poetic images and lies.”
Michal Šanda, Právo
“Despite all the humour, hyperbole, literary gluttony and wacky situations, An Angel’s Egg leads to such a powerful and tragic wartime finale that it will make your skin crawl.”
Ivan Hartman, Hospodářské noviny
“This is playful prose, a postmodern novel which doesn’t know boundaries and yet retains its shape — and it has a message.”
Radim Kopáč, Týdeník Rozhlas
Click on the cover for the extract.
Publisher: Druhé město, Brno, 2014
A postmodern criminal novel set in Prague in the second half of the 19th century
Czech bestseller and winner of the Magnesia Litera Award for high quality fiction
Rights sold: Hungarian, Spanish, Polish, Bulgarian, Macedonian
Culinary delicacies, eroticism, philosophical questions and strange murders – these are the ingredients, with which Petr Stančík blends a postmodern grotesque thriller. The fantasy novel takes place in the historical background of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. At that time a serial killer emerges in the historical center of Prague. Commissioner Leopold Durman is on his trail. Building around precise historical facts Petr Stančík develops a bizarre fiction. In a baroque narrative style he lets his readers dive into a mystical 19th century Prague. There the main hero pursues not only the murderer, but also all thinkable pleasures of life. He tastes imaginative meals, such as bat breast fricassee or roasted hedgehog, and also enjoys physical love in many lewd variants.
On another level the author portrays the conflict between individual murder, which society punishes, and institutionalized killing by the army, which on the contrary is rewarded. In the end it is not the aim of the author to find out who the murderer was, but rather to create a whimsical and imaginative narrative world, which in every sense is dripping with opulence.
Of one thing I am sure: Stančík has created the most vivid evocation of Prague in recent years, and if Angelo Maria Ripellino were to write a new Magic Prague today, he wouldn’t be able to ignore this masterpiece of Prague literature.
Bogdan Trojak, Czech-Polish poet
Stančík simply enjoys himself. His novel is the type of book you want to take everywhere, enthusiastically quoting from it at every opportunity.
Boris Hokr, Aktualne.cz
The attraction of this novel lies in the “incorrect” humor and ingenuity with which the author mocks historical narratives.
Ondřej Nezbeda, Respekt
Publisher: Akropolis, Praha 2014
Rights sold: German
His name was Frank Pérák and people knew him as a mysterious figure with jumping springs on his feet. The fictional hero was raging in the occupied Czech Lands during World War II, jumping even over high tenements and also across the Vltava River valley. According to legend he fought the German occupiers and collaborators, sabotaging their war economy. No one really knows who Frank Pérák was, except Petr Stančík, who has dedicated a whole novel to this superhero resisting the Nazis. The read offers a combination of thrilling narration, lessons in history and precisely measured doses of humor.
Peter Stančík embellished the supernatural ability of Pérák to crush enemies and has created a story so sophisticated, that Superman and Batman pale in comparison.
Martin Ťopek, nekultura.cz