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We Are Here

Ten-Story Narrative

Jan Balabán

​Translated by Adin Ljuca

Reproductions of paintings by Daniel Balabán

2020

Despite that awful feeling that maybe we’re leaving, that maybe our whole world is leaving, Balabán’s latest collection of short stories was published under the title We Are Here!  It was as if he meant by that title: in spite of everything, we are still here. In it, the author - who stated that his stories are arranged in longer cycles, and the novels fall apart into short stories - probably found the ideal length, or it was simply the moment when he climbed to the very top of his prose work.

 

It seems as if this is something more than a Ten-Story Narrative, as the subtitle of this book reads. This book is something like a great estuary, a delta through which the river of all its printed pages, autobiographical motifs and several types of recurring characters - flows into one narrative. With a painstaking approach to hope, he reached a certain reconciliation in his prose. And it is no accident that he took the verses from Psalm 23 as her motto: Goodness and mercy will follow me / all the days of my life.