Faith and rationality are found together in Marko Technik’s sovereign and somewhat tiresome debut – ČT art – Czech Television

Marek Technik – pseudonym. Born in Olomouc, lives in Prague. Since 2010, he has been writing critically about film and literature, photo: author’s Facebook / photo: Lenora Lesegier

The protagonist of the story is the thirty-seven-year-old Karolína, who likes modern classical music, i.e. composers like Alfred Schnittke, Györgi Ligeti or Ianis Xenakis, whose works, according to many, are very much liked by academics, or rather. by those who engage rationality rather than emotion when listening. Ultimately, Karolína is impressed by, for example, the aforementioned Greek composer Xenakis that “in his work, mathematical description and the expression of biomorphic forms are combined. There is a strong connection with the perception of space. At the same time, everything feels dehumanized – it’s a cold, withdrawn world in a way, at the center of which a person is simply not needed. There is no interest in it.’

In general, this engineer is a very rational being. Even more so, because Karolína is seconded by her mother in the story. She falls in love with conservative religious blogger Marta Postová, who spreads twisted apocalyptic visions online. Besides the fact that mother and daughter get into each other’s hair from time to time due to different worldviews, they also have one thing in common – they are widows. Karolína’s husband recently died of cancer and she has to take care of her son Tadeáš alone.

His upbringing shows that even though the protagonist is capable of lecturing on many subjects that most people frown upon, and even if she can brainstorm somewhere for the first culprit, her mind will sometimes lead her occasionally in questionable decisions – and only at times when it is least convenient. For example, when thirteen-year-old Tadeáš crosses red lines that are completely out of proportion to his age – he gets drunk recklessly or sends inappropriate pictures to classmates, which makes Karolín colder than he should be. life. In addition, Karolína becomes more interested in the world of Marta Postová and her theories; she spends a lot of time exploring this virtual microcosm, and another potential threat to her world with a clear—because rational—order is about to fall. A complex, painful, sometimes funny, sometimes slightly tiresome narrative path leads to this.

WARNING! the novel is narratively complex, as is its protagonist. In one section, for example, we come across a detailed table of Marian apparitions, about which Karolina passionately seeks information. His study often leads to long explanatory passages that are erudite and one-sided, but also really long and, above all, very creepy – the reader may need some time to adjust to the pace of the novel. and its internal mechanism. and the first half can kill a lot.

Iannis Xenakis
A favorite of the novel Karolina from the novel Technik WARNING!: Greek avant-garde composer and architect Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001). Photo in the 1970s in his studio, source: Onassis Foundation / photo: Michele Daniele

However, losing patience with this text is a shame. Among other things, because the second half of the novel is more dynamic – there will be partner relations and tense family quarrels. But above all: The author is not only extremely well-read by local literary standards, but also good at psychology. The scenes based on dialogues between Karolína and other characters are particularly successful. These often lead the actors into situations they would rather avoid, but the dynamic of a heated conversation in which harrowing topics are discussed is unrelenting. These scenes provide a fitting balance to the amount of detail and literary and cultural references with which the text is saturated.

Even from those references, Marek Technik can shoot well. At one point, for example, the protagonist goes mad and the house library falls into her hands. Then, still properly sharpened, she discusses titles and is indiscriminate about many canonical works: “Joyce— Odysseus: It is said that aspiring writers struggle with three things – their subject, their style and their ego. Joyce had an obvious problem with all three throughout his life.” Or: “Don DeLillo— Cosmopolis: Lost in the alleys of the side narrative, at the end of which the author pretends to be at the destination.” And how would the acerbic heroine comment herself WARNING!, the reader can think at that point. Yes: “A vanished relic of postmodernism, whose author did not know how else to use the intellectual extracts of his reading…”? However, he would have to be unjust, just as Carolina was unjust when Fr Blood meridian She thought of Cormac McCarthy as right-wing nonsense.

WARNING! Although Marko Technik would not suffer from cross-examination and clarification, it is nevertheless an ambitious work written with a sovereignty rarely seen in contemporary domestic literature. Considering the fact that it is a debut, it is clear that the author’s name should be remembered by readers. The question is whether it will remain the same for future books, or will the author change it according to how his heroes change. Such a game would be the gesture of its author – judging by the way he presents it WARNING! – she was quite seated.

Book cover
The author of the cover and graphic design of the book is Pavel Růt, repro: Argo

Marek Technik: Warning

Argo, Prague 2022, 400 pages, recommended price 398 crowns.

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