In this strange and lovely hymn to Prague, Michal Ajvaz repopulates the city of Kafka with ghosts, eccentrics, talking animals, and impossible statues, all lurking on the peripheries of a town so familiar to tourists. The Other City is a guidebook to this invisible, “other Prague,” overlapping the workaday world: a place where libraries can turn into jungles, secret passages yawn beneath our feet, and waves lap at our bedspreads. Heir to the tradition and obsessions of Jorge Luis Borges, as well as the long and distinguished line of Czech fantasists, Ajvaz’s Other City—his first novel to be translated into English—is the emblem of all the worlds to which our own routine eyes blind us.
Novelist, poet, critic, and translator Michal Ajvaz was born into a Russian family in Prague in 1949. He studied at Prague’s Charles University and works at the Prague Centre for Theoretical Studies; in addition to his fiction and poetry, he’s published monographs on Derrida and Borges. He received the Jaroslav Siefert Prize in 2005 for his novel Prázdné ulice (Empty Streets).