The Visible World is an evocative, powerfully romantic novel about a son's attempt to understand his mother's past, a search that leads him to a tragic love affair and the heroic story of the assassination of a high-ranking Nazi by the Czech resistance. The narrator of The Visible World, the American-born son of Czech immigrants living in New York, grows up in an atmosphere haunted by fragments of a past he cannot understand. At the heart of that past is his mother, Ivana, a spontaneous, passionate woman drifting ever closer to despair. As an adult, the narrator travels to Prague, hoping to learn about a love affair between his then young mother and a member of the resistance named Tomas, an affair whose untimely end, he senses, lay behind Ivana's unhappiness. Ultimately unable to complete his knowledge of the past, he imagines the two lovers as participants in one of the more dramatic (and true) moments of the war, and through the deeply romantic story he tells, creates not only the ending of their story but the beginning of his own.
The Visible Worldis a literary page-turner and an immensely moving novel about the vagaries of love and our need to make sense of life through the telling of stories.
Slouka creates a tangible whole that leaves the reader well satisfied and, by extrapolation, forms a foundation of "truth" about the narrator's parents on which he can build the rest of his life. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The New York Times - Eva Hoffman
… The Visible World is a sensitive and formally inventive elaboration of complex and elusive themes; despite its flaws, there is much to enjoy in its hidden implications and its nuanced narrative surfaces.
Entertainment Weekly - Karen Leigh
Slouka's characters ... pop — the Czech old-timers are a particular hoot — and he demonstrates a shattering ability to capture humanity in its bleakest moments: ''My mother erased herself so thoroughly that for a long time, I couldn't find her anywhere.''
The suspense is well paced, and the action scenes are vividly recounted. Slouka's novel has a poignant verve.
Booklist - Sarah Johnson
This is a penetrating, beautifully composed novel from a writer with a tangible sense of place and period.
The format bears the fruit of Slouka's cogent thesis: the value of storytelling is in its ability to fill the holes created by memory's inadequacy and the evasiveness of loved ones. Highly recommended.
His novel's power lives in the imaginative effort…to portray loss that is inherited…It's a moving book.
Ha Jin, author of Waiting The Visible World reveals what is invisible within us. It's a pure pleasure to turn its pages.
[Slouka's] style seamlessly merges a simple clarity with atmospheric lushness…[The Visible World] is this gifted writer's most ambitious book.
Elizabeth Berg, author of Durable Goods and Range of Motion
Rich with intelligence and poetic detail, The Visible World demonstrates why Mark Slouka is one of our finest contemporary novelists.
A masterful work, it calls to mind the very finest Czech writers...I will re-read [it] again and again.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by dora goldemberg Ms Hoffmann To go through the pages of this novel has opened up my renovated impulse to write.
I´d highly appreciate to learn what exactly did Ms Hoffmann mean by "in spite of its flaws"; I consider "The Visible World" a piece of art...so let me learn... Read More
A Short History of
Czechoslovakia The lands now known as The
Czech Republic and Slovakia were
ruled by the Austrian-Hungarian
Empire for about 300 years until
the end of World War I and the
collapse of the empire. In 1918,
a union was proclaimed between
the Czech lands and Slovakia to
form the Czechoslovakian state,
an idea that had been advocated
by Czech and Slovak political
leaders and intellectuals for
sometime. However, although the
majority of Czechs and Slovaks
shared a similar language they
held greatly differing
religious, cultural and social
traditions. In addition, the
Czech lands were far more
industrialized than Slovakia,
particularly in the ethnically
German area of the Bohemian and
Moravian border regions (called...
A collection of stories that weave themselves around the idea of love---love to seek and love to flee; love as desire, as guilt, as confusion or self-betrayal; love as habit, as affair, and as life-changing rebellion.
These are 2 of the 5 readalike suggestions for The Visible World. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...