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Prague Noir:The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague

Author: Sylvie Germain

Translator: Judith Landry   Cover design: Marie Lane  

An intricate, finely crafted and polished tale, The Weeping Woman brings magic-realism to the dimly lit streets of Prague. Through the squares and alleys a woman walks, the embodiment of human pity, sorrow, death. Everyone she passes is touched by her, and Germain skilfully creates an intense mood and feel in her attempt to produce a spiritual map of Prague.

The Observer

Firmly rooted in magic realism, Germain adds her own strain of dark romanticism and macabre imagination to create a tale poised between vision and elegy.

Emily Dean in The Sunday Times

...a lot to recommend it.. somewhere between Gabriel Marcia Marquez and Angela Carter.

Mary Scott in Everywoman

Wonderful to read aloud. This is fertile, unpredictable country, at once ancient and exhilaratingly fresh.

Maggie Traugott in The Independent on Sunday

Hallucinatory, lyrical in the extreme, it's a post-modernist playground for literary game-playing. It seems, at first, a radical departure for this gifted tale-teller but no, this is a teasing meditation on her familiar themes: history, place,creativity, death and desire.

James Friel in Time Out

The figure of this bereft woman develops into a memorable symbol: her sudden appearances - on a bridge,in a square, in a room - haunt the book like history, moved to tears.

Robert Winder in The Independent

Germain is sexy - in the stimulating, intriguing, provocative sense. The Weeping Woman, like Kieslowski's film Blue, is a book devoted to conjuring theme rather than plot. Plot emerges from theme, rather than the usual way round.

Carole Morin in The Glasgow Herald

A haunting classic.

Madeleine Kingsley in She Magazine

A woman is glimpsed walking the streets of Prague: a strange, gigantic woman, who walks with a limp, who fades in and out of visibility, who "sails through walls as easily as through tree trunks or through the piers of bridges". She's made not of flesh and blood, but of tears – a condensation of all the grief of humanity, a walking memorial to the victims of war and their families. There is no story, as such; just a succession of sightings in different parts of the city at different times and seasons; and each sighting awakens more painful memories.

The style is lyrical, intense, passionate, compassionate; mourning death, celebrating life. The atmosphere may be gauged by the nouns and adjectives taken from a paragraph at random: "flowers... downcast... snowdrops... cellar-roses... history... war... hatred... bloom... deeds... men... cold, sweat, blood and tears.... secret... memories".

Brendon Robshaw in The Independent on Sunday

RRP: £8.99

No. of pages: 112

Publication date: 24.09.2009

ISBN numbers:
978 1 903517 73 4
978 1 907650 40 6

UK & Commonwealth