Synopses & Reviews
The Golden Age is a fantastical travelogue in which a modern-day Gulliver writes a book about a civilization he once encountered on a tiny island in the Atlantic. The islanders seem at first to do nothing but sit and observe the world, and indeed draw no distinction between reality and representation, so that a mirror image seems as substantial to them as a person (and vice versa); but the center of their culture is revealed to be "The Book," a handwritten, collective novel filled with feuding royal families, murderous sorcerers, and narrow escapes. Anyone is free to write in "The Book," adding their own stories, crossing out others, or even ap- pending "footnotes" in the form of little paper pouches full of extra text--but of course there are pouches within pouches, so that the story is impossible to read "in order," and soon begins to overwhelm the narrator's orderly treatise.
"This 2001 novel, Ajvaz's most brilliantly complicated, is a fictional travelogue, part philosophical ethnography and part potboiling fairy tale." Jonathan Bolton
"Michal Ajvaz is a literary magician creating worlds of worlds, worlds of words, worlds of objects. He is the fantastical baby of Borges and Timothy Leary. He is a cartographer on mescaline. He is Czech." CONTEXT
Heir to the philosophical-fantastical tradition of Borges, Calvino, and Perec, The Golden Age is Michal Ajvaz's greatest and most ambitious work.
About the Author
Michal Ajvaz is a Czech novelist, essayist, poet, and translator. In 2005, he was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Prize for his novel Prázdné ulice (Empty Streets). He is a researcher at Prague's Center for Theoretical Studies. In addition to fiction, he has published an essay on Derrida, a book-length meditation on Borges, and a philosophical study on the act of seeing.Andrew Oakland's translations include Radka Denemarková's Money from Hitler, Martin Reiner's No Through Road, Michal Ajvaz's The Golden Age, and the autobiography of architect Josef Hoffmann.