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The page of Dušek, Dušan, English Reception

Image of Dušek, Dušan
Dušek, Dušan


Dušan Dušek enriched Slovak literature by basing his poetics on a detail charged with his autobiography. This made his work serve as a counterpoint to official literature. Dušek became one of the best Slovak short story writers. He is a poetic realist who creates a complex mosaic from details that speak of the beauty and sadness of life. He has a sensuous vision and a perception of reality that is complimented by the perception of a child. That helps him to create gentle pictures of home reflecting the basic ethical value of human life. The world of his prose is filled with interesting little characters. Added to his work are the author's childhood experien­ces, humour, irony; precisely built metaphor with a concrete narra­tive line, imagination and a fine psychological drawing. In precise prosaic form, his stories feature the coexistence of reality with ima­gination, irrationality and mystery. Dušek penetrates the surface of relationships, situations and problems but does not solve them, merely evokes them in an original manner. Beside childhood, ano­ther frequent topic is the relationship between generations. He uses the topic to deal critically with complex social and political issues. In the last collection of stories, Thermometer, apart from all thestandard preoccupations of the author, he features his own political position concerning the realities of the totalitarian regime and the events following the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

šek transforms the complexity of his experience into a prosaic form, using a few characteristic compositional and stylistic devices. Most frequently, he makes the meaning of a narrated story or rela­tionships and conflicts “dark” and “mysterious”. The reader finds himself in position of an accidental observer or witness to an event or conversation. The indeterminate significance and meaning of the prose is in sharp contrast with the clear and depiction of objects and their details, their natural surroundings. the action, and the ap­pearance of the characters. (Karol Tomiš)

Dušek’s carefully captured microworld reflects his admiration of seemingly ordinary things that receive a new significance are to unusual vision or surprising illumination. His courage to create in a period of cool pragmatic utilitarian relationships helped the writer avoid the conventional and even fashion nostalgia the characters feel for the demise of their forefathers world. (Ivan Sulik)

šek delivers to society mature prose art based on a deep know­ledge of village man and the social context wherein this man lives. Dušek does not rely only on the experience and knowledge that is otherwise the basis of real art. but rather he amplifies the experien­ce with the help of contemporary means of expression. He writes from the point of view of today and thus expands the spectrum of contemporary prose. (Rudolf Chmel)

šek’s contribution to Slovak fiction of the last thirty years con­sists above all in his original and imaginatively rich rewriting of mundane, everyday themes. Originating in the readers’ mind, they are on the dividing line between dream and reality, finding and losing, life and death. These are themes that always implicitly accompany an aesthetic survey of the movable boundaries between a story and its hidden, unarticulated or semi-articulated meaning. Duše’ks short stories and scriptwriting are tied not only to the the­matic but also to the ideological “minimal art”, the interest in peri­pherally uncensored children's, young people's, as well as senior’s and very old people’s consciousness. (...) The leitmotif of his nu­merous books for adults and children is the author’s apostrophe of human sympathy and empathy and positive partnering. (Zora Prušková)

These are the big and little stories I received as a gift. They entered my ear and wondered around my body together with the pictures of people and the country until they turned to ink in my ballpoint pen.
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