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The page of Vilikovský, Pavel, English Reception

Image of Vilikovský, Pavel
Vilikovský, Pavel


In Vilikovský’s work from his debut there has been a sceptical attitude to literature and possibilities for knowledge. Consequently he often pushes his telling to the level of absurd and grotesque humour. During the times when “normalized” socialist critics requi­red from writers unambiguous attitudes to life and society in their work Vilikovský showed in the detective-like tone of his stories that truth was not unambiguous and the “most truthful” prooves can and must be questioned. Deliberately and courageously “he stretched his fictional hand” towards some of our national heroes (Štefánik, Jánošík) to help us cleanse our historical consciousness of the lyrical pseudoballast which hindered a real view of our histo­ry. Although with indisputable irony, self-irony and “unseriousness” Vilikovský in his recent stories and essays researches the meaning of the concept Middle European as a spiritual place in which “a small nation without imperial character” has a chance to survive with dignity and aid its own preservation. Vilikovsý’s deliberate and precise structuring of his stories augmented by elements of irony and gentle parody - so close to the feelings and perception of a modern human being - belong among the best works of con­temporary Slovak literature.

Irony, parody, persiflage are Vilikovsk
ý’s favourite means with which he continues with what troubles him with the same intensity as ourselves. A large parody of history is used in his book Forever Green Is... Unheedingly he has poked fun at legendary mystifica­tions of history uncovering everything as part of a false conscious­ness. He has not gained much understanding in a conservative environment, but he has delighted lovers of good art with his brilliant narration as much as with his sharp intellectual reflexes. (Vladimír Petrík)

ý’s modest sceptical, post-modern “realism” does not feign, but simply knows. It knows that experience of the world cannot be substituted although it can be invented. His stories are perhaps more warnings against the invention of illusory beauty to please the senses that somehow would like to gain its effect through its un­ambiguous speech. The mariner of Vilikovský’s word is manner of not going mad from scepticism and preserving the dignity of a human being despite the fact we have despoiled the world with tales where words say one thing and mean another and you walk upon it untouchable. (Alexander Halvoník)

ý as usual does not try for a “pure story” at all. He plays with motifs so for a while we are minded to believe in the sacro­sanct nature of his stroll with existential mastery on a station plat­form only to glimpse suddenly a cloven of the author’s licence. The protagonists in which the author tests the capacity of word or motif are repeated in all the stories of The Cruel Engine Driver and the result is an ironical scepticism. Not a scepticism that is heavy and de­pressed but knowing that the word spoken with tongue and written by hand can express a reality only based on conventions, which people have agreed among each other and which they are willing to accept. (Maroš Bančej)

Prize of VUB Bank (1996, for The Cruel Engine Driver)
Dominik Tatarka Prize (1996)
Central-European Prize (Vilenica, 1999)
Literature ::
Translation ::