Translated by David Short
61 or so ‘found’ acerbic short stories cataloguing the descent of human beings into murdering Jews, gaslighting, voting for European Nazis, or cutting up Arabs. Written with very dark humourous intent, the title ‘Dead’ is an acknowledgement from the author that the collection would kill his reputation as an inoffensive humourist gently satirising masculinity.
BALLA (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 eleven more books, mostly of short fiction. His works have been translated into Czech, German, English, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene 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 award. Balla’s latest, the novella Veľká láska (The Great Love), was published in 2016 and was also shortlisted for Anasoft Litera. Je mŕtvy (Dead) was first published in Slovak in 2018.
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