In the Name of the Father and Other Stories

by Balla

Translated by Julia & Peter Sherwood
Foreword by Gábor Németh
Afterword by Marta Součková

Balla is often described as “the Slovak Kafka” for his depictions of the absurd and the mundane. In the Name of the Father features a nameless narrator reflecting on his life, looking for someone else to blame for his failed relationship with his parents and two sons, his serial adultery, the breakup of his marriage and his wife’s descent into madness. Against the backdrop of their stiflingly grey provincial lives, he completely fails to act against “the thing” growing in the cellar of the house he built with his brother. The book won numerous awards in Slovakia and in this edition is accompanied by three additional short stories, which share its unique dark humour, satire and truth.

Praise & Awards

This beautifully produced volume, containing the title novella and three short stories, gives a useful introduction to a writer who epitomizes the generation that came of age during the period of post-communist transition.”

— Charles Sabatos, LA Review of Books

Balla loves the absurd and mysterious, is a master of magic realism and postmodernism, and, most importantly, is able “to express the unspeakable” with frankness unprecedented in Slovak literature.”

— Zuzana Slobodová, Times Literary Supplement

I loved this book. Bizarre and beautiful, intense and passionate, the writing is so fresh.”

— Rosie Goldsmith,
Director of the European Literature Network

Reading Balla is like getting on a roller coaster and behaving in an age-appropriate manner: you never know what’s coming, you scream and shout, now in fear, now in joy.”

— Gábor Németh,
Hungarian author

One of World Literature Today’s Notable Translations of 2017

Longlisted for the 2018 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Literature Prize

Voted Book of the Year by the Slovak daily SME in December 2012 and won the 2012 Anasoft Litera Prize, Slovakia’s most prestigious award for an original work of fiction.