Baradla Cave by Eva Svankmajerova, illustrations by Jan Svankmajer, translated by Gwendolyn Albert / ISBN 9788086264479 / 158-page paperback with flaps from Twisted Spoon Press, a 2023 second edition (reprinting their 2000 edition)
Baradla Cave is a novel by the Czech Surrealist Eva Svankmajerova, who is perhaps best known for her paintings and collaboratian with her husband Jan Svankmajer on a number of films. Originally published in samizdat in the 1980s, the book was republished in 1995 by Edice Analogon, having lost none of the force of its social critique and wit. Baradla is a living organism, both place (Prague) and person (a woman), and the novel explores maternity and femininity while offering a satirical look at the overweening mother-state and consumer society. As the language shifts between psuedo-scientific jargon, common vernacular, and metaphoric stream, scenes of episodic sexual violence alternate with humorous reflections on various ingrained habits and customs. Svankmajerova's sense of the absurd is seemingly without limit, fingering here practically everything having to do with modern urban existence: drug addiction, murder, sex crimes, corruption, and dysfunctional family relationships.