Author: Svatava Urbanová
University of Ostrava
Translation from Czech by Tanya Yankova
Published inSlavyanski dialozi, XIII, 2016, 17
Abstract: This study is concerned with interpretations of the final novel of the Ostrava writer Jan Balabán (1961 – 2010). Balabán devoted all of his life energy into his work Ask Your Father (Zeptej se táty, 2010). The text involves coming to terms with questions of life and death, morality, memory and recollection. Through self-analyzing confessions the work mirrors the complexity of accepting oneself, thereby seeking out a path to truth, God and the world. The death of the father affects all members of the family. It leads to crystallization of existential viewpoints and partial life recapitulations. It generates thoughts concerning the relationship between guilt and punishment, fear and compassion and finally both historical and collective memory. The novel has become a generational account of the period of life when the siblings grew up – it turns out they cannot get rid of it.
Key words: Jan Balabán, Ask Your Father, narrative strategies, referential and selfreferential codes