Alex Strieženec

Amsterdam Dawn

Translated by Csiby Károly

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“I could be a terribly great artist. A somebody,” murmured Andy in a subdued voice, after pouring himself the next in the who knows how many glasses of vodka in a row.

So begins Alex Strieženec’s Amsterdam Dawn. There is more than a hint of despair and frustration in Andy’s words, as if life could have offered him more than it has. An accomplished Eastern European novel, both chilling and poignant and written in a hard lyric intensity, Amsterdam Dawn deepens our empathy for Andy’s slow disintegration. The novel is set immediately before the fall of the Iron Curtain, against a backdrop of fragmentation and collapse. Andy does not know the political tsunami approaching, but the west summons him. There is nothing left for him in his home country, as his life and his family home disintegrate because of alcoholism and despair, like the cracks in the Berlin Wall. The west becomes the promised land as he flees from Czechoslovakia to Amsterdam, yet the presence of the past haunts him while the essence of the future seems less clear. Amsterdam Dawn is the peripatetic adventures of a young man, adrift among lost souls and slipping from grace, he must find a life among the renegate addicts and incurable dreamers, in an increasingly fugitive existence. Andy endures, though disillusion and disappointment goad him, as his longing to return to his abandoned home leads him to set right the wrongs of his past and discover his authentic self. Passionate and shocking, Amsterdam Dawn is a solid, gripping and exciting work, a book that forces us to confront the darkness in life, even as it celebrates the existence of ordinary joy in a world capable of the most grotesque violence. The characters are held in the grip of a world between light and dark, the dawn where night ends and a new day begins.

Alex Strieženec, born in 1953, is a musician, teacher and writer. He is a jazz drummer who leads a band called Deja vu. He has traveled and played in most European countries. For many years he had a column in the biggest-selling Czech-Slovak music magazine. So far he has published three books – each about music. Amsterdam Dawn is his first novel. It was published in Hungarian, and a Slovak publication is also planned. Alex Strieženec would like to focus on literature in the future.

ISBN 978-1-77171-113-5
109 pages
5 x 8
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