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Boat Number Five
by Monika Kompaníková
translated by Janet Livingstone
Seagull Books, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-85742-889-9 | eISBN: 978-0-85742-924-7

The moving yet humorous story of a girl struggling to care for herself and others in post-communist Slovakia.

Emotionally neglected by her immature, promiscuous mother and made to care for her cantankerous dying grandmother, twelve-year-old Jarka is left to fend for herself in the social vacuum of a post-communist concrete apartment-block jungle in Bratislava, Slovakia. She spends her days roaming the streets and daydreaming in the only place she feels safe: a small garden inherited from her grandfather. One day, on her way to the garden, she stops at a suburban railway station and impulsively abducts twin babies. Jarka teeters on the edge of disaster, and while struggling to care for the babies, she discovers herself. With a vivid and unapologetic eye, Monika Kompaníková captures the universal quest for genuine human relationships amid the emptiness and ache of post-communist Europe. Boat Number Five, which was adapted into an award-winning Slovak film, is the first of two books that launch Seagull’s much-anticipated Slovak List.

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