Lucie Kryzova

Residency: Aspirus 10

2 – 30 April 2014

The very first novel by Lucie Kryzova (Czech Republic) is about freedom. She originally explored the idea as a screenplay about two young people who are traveling through Europe, making money as street mimes and escaping from themselves. This short film was the start of a novel about adulthood, a topic that resonated with Kryzova’s writer’s soul and that she was driven to pursue.

Kryzova feels as a young person today, that compared with past generations, hers can do whatever they want….and there is a moment when all this freedom becomes a prison. In the past in the Czech Republic people lived in a communistic regime and their lives were all planed. There were no choices. Her novel explores these themes and also highlights the conflict with the older generation, who want to advise the young how to live (because they simply love and care about them), without understanding that there are no good and bad choices anymore. There are only choices.

The novel is not regarded as autobiographical, but being honest she has to admit that the main characters both together are like the fight inside herself. They are like those two parts of a soul – the one according to Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure – and the one according to Apollo, the wise god. There is the irresponsible, but enviable, free boy called Theo and a girl called Berenika, who is struggling with her existence.

When are we really adult? is a question Kryzova often asks, and has come to the conclusion that the time is not marked by any of those so called turning points such as a graduation, turning 18 or 21, moving from your parents etc. Her understanding is that it is the moment when you have to stand only by yourself. The moment you are not protected anymore, and you need to make decisions, and fight for them. Her character called Nina is a girl without identity, she is the comic part in the novel (which in the end isn’t really funny at all). She is panicking about being alone, so she goes from relationship to relationship, changing her identity depending on whom is she dating. She thinks that life has rules to be followed, she is typical student with only A grades, and she has a plan, when to get married, have kids… But life seems not to follow her plan. She is living in her personal prison of her mind and she also is very judgmental about others. The two main characters are trying to avoid being adult, but do not realise that it sometimes happens without you even noticing. There are situations in life where there is no other option left than being incredibly strong and brave.

Writing in Czech, in a style which is observant and humorous, Kryzova uses metaphorical and figurative interpretations to create dramatic situations that are very strong. She wants her novel to be not only for people of her generation, but to be a picture of people of any age who are looking for freedom which they confuse with irresponsibility, loneliness or something else; a scenario of people building walls and then trying to pull them down. It is about looking for the courage to not live according so called standards of society, but finding the strength to bear the
responsibility for one’s choices.

Kryzova loves Henrik Ibsen ́s character Hedda Gabler. She often is understood as a evil person, but Kryzova feels that beyond that interpretation Gabler is unsafe, unsecure, unhappy, bounded by the moral standards of the time, and that what she did was to look for the meaning of the pure beauty.

“Yes, courage! If one only had that! Then life would perhaps be liveable, after all.”     (Hedda Gabler)