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Over the course of one hundred brief and evanescent texts, Král brings together, as his compatriot Milan Kundera writes in his introduction, "this strange and beautiful existential encyclopaedia of the everyday". Whether describing twilight, a toothpick, the ritual of shaving or the act of going upstairs, his gaze is ingenuous, humble, and amazed. Mute objects, fleeting gestures, changeless passions: Král forces us to look at them anew. Each limpid, graceful essay is a brief voyage of discovery in which lowly objects and everyday actions, so often unobserved, are transfigured. Petr Král has the unerring ability to perceive, to catch the commonplace by surprise and with the unsettling clarity see beyond the everyday to the fabric of life beneath.
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Petr Král, born in Prague in 1941, was a leading member of the Czech surrealist movement, studied cinema and moved to Paris in 1968. A poet, essayist and screenwriter, he has lived in Prague since 2006. His books Working Knowledge (2008) and In Search of the Essence of Place (2012) are also published by Pushkin Press.Review:
"It is our blindness, existential blindness which makes the world around us so mysterious. In his discreet way, Petr Král lifts the veil." - Milan Kundera
"With Král’s virtuosic ability to get at the meat of a thing [...] we’re treated to a sober and bittersweet and painfully observant volume." - Jeff Waxman, Review of Contemporary Fiction
"Elegant and incisive meditations [...] Král hints at the metaphysical ramifications of whatever he comes across." - John Taylor, Times Literary Supplement
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