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Among the Ruins

Among the Ruins

Balla creates a beautiful, thought-provoking, often funny portrait of human frailty. Consisting of fragments newspaper reports, TV news items, conversations, letters, voice messages and police reports related to a fragile middle-aged woman, Vargová, and her drug and alcohol dependent therapist, Dr Felešlegi. It is not clear that either of them have actually met but Vargová is fixated by Felešlegi as her therapist and sends him many messages detailing her life and thoughts covering loneliness, bullying by her father and husband and her delusion that she is still living in the former communist state of Czechoslovakia. 


BALLA (b. 8 May 1967), who goes only by his surname, is a graduate of the Bratislava Economic University and has a day job in the local council’s audit office in Nové Zámky, a provincial town in southern Slovakia. Since his first short story collection, Leptokaria (1996), he has published thirteen more books, mostly of short fiction.  His works have been translated into Czech, German, English, Greek, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Ukrainian and Serbian. The novella V mene otca 2012 [In the Name of the Father], was voted Book of the Year by the Slovak daily SME in 2012 and in the same year awarded both the Tatrabanka Foundation Art Prize for literature and Anasoft Litera Prize, Slovakia’s most prestigious literary prize. Balla’s latest, the novella Medzi Ruinami [Among the Ruins] was published in 2021 and was also shortlisted for Anasoft Litera.  

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