A contemporary classic from the Czech Republic. To support his family, a man submits himself to a solo science experiment in the High Andes. A cosmic adventure story of big ideas and murder. ‘I loved it: simple as that. I started reading thinking I'd start with a few chapters and pace it over a week or two, but I found I couldn't stop. A potent and haunting novel of black holes, solitude and the sublime, it is never less than immensely readable and absorbing.’ – Adam Roberts, winner of the BSFA Award for Best Novel and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Your business is dead. It seems like a deal – leave your family behind in Prague for a year, isolate yourself in a research station in the Andes, and come home with a fortune. With a treatise on black holes for company, Jakob settles in at altitude. The air is thin. Strangers pass by on dangerous pilgrimage while his young wife and kids take life in his mind. In mountain starkness, the big questions take shape – like what happens to love inside a black hole?
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About the Author
Martin Vopěnka was born in Prague in 1963. The son of a famous mathematician, he studied nuclear and physical engineering at Charles University, Prague, but was always intent on being a writer. His first novel, Kamany s Hov, was published in 1989. His second was translated as Ballad of Descent for North Western University Press in 1995, as part of their WRITINGS FROM UNBOUND EUROPE series. Choice wrote of that book, ‘Vopenka manages this material with a deft and compellingly simple control of sentences that is reminiscent of both Kafka and Kundera. The book is really superb.’ Perhaps because of his Jewish origins he views the contemporary world with caution, sensitivity and scepticism. He has written six novels for adults and three for young people, and seeks inspiration in the mountains (for example, he visited Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, Kirghizia). The themes he explores in his books go beyond the local themes of much Czech literature. He contributes polemic articles to the national daily paper MF Dnes. In 1997 and 2012 he was a guest at the Prague Writers Festival. He is a member of the Czech PEN Club and chairman of the Association of Czech Publishers. He lives in Prague with his wife Anna and their four children.