PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
Peter Pistanek (28 April 1960 –-22 March 2015), the finest of modern Slovak novelists, died of a drug overdose just before his fifty-fifth birthday. No one has evoked so well Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, when thugs and secret policemen metamorphosed into racketeers and 'businessmen of the year'. Pistanek portrayed sex and violence as graphically as a manga novelist and as convincingly as if he had experienced every sado-masochistic ploy of his anti-heroes.
Pistanek was in Communist days a drummer in a rock group (a life he celebrated in his novella The Musicians): this was then one of the few careers that allowed young Slovaks to travel abroad, if only to Bulgaria. Becoming a writer was harder, even after the Velvet Revolution. Pistanek's exposure of the underbelly of Slovak life and his satire on sacred Slovak pretensions caused a scandal. Pistanek's genius became manifest in Rivers of Babylon which, with its sequels The Wooden Village and The End of Freddy, formed a trilogy in which the thug who takes over the money-changing and prostitution rackets in a hotel transmutes into an oil oligarch