“A garden house, with blue façade and white window shutters, looked like a small steamboat lost in a sea of grass.”
The Fifth Boat (Piata loď, 2010) is a praised debut from one of the most important contemporary Slovak authors Monika Kompaníková (1979) for which she received the Anasoft litera, most prestigious Slovak literary award, in 2011.
The story is told from the perspective of a twelve-year old girl Jarka, who lives with her young and immature single mother Lucija and emotionally cold grandmother Irena, in an environment “without any deep affection, harmony or understanding… signs of intimacy, closeness.” Emotionally unattended and ignored in the midst of social vacuum surrounded by a jungle of post-communist concrete buildings in one of Bratislava’s boroughs, Jarka spends her days dreaming of the place where she will be safe: a small garden and house built by her grandfather in a green suburb, her ship in a safe harbor…
Inspired by true events, Kompaníková wrote an extraordinary story whose criticism of society and numerous important questions it opens (primarily about relations between children and parents in modern society) make it, according to many, the turning point of contemporary Slovak literature.
Author: Monika Kompaníková
Translator: Maria Vuksanović Kursar