Her book Anisa, An American Mini-Novel is being published by Argo in March, 2015. Since for the time being the novel will be published in Czech only, the synopsis by Argo is translated here:
Anisa, a young, somewhat naive, and quite bored but straight-forward American woman, is the thread whom the other characters and their stories wind in this multi-faceted “mini-novel”. She stands at the epicenter, forming an axis anchored in a comfortable lifestyle in California beside her husband. Through her employee Eva, a Czech woman married to an American, Anisa is drawn to other Czech immigrants, whose strange habits, speech, and behavior she views with amusement and suspicion.
Gradually, however, she starts to lose this stability and finds herself in the uncertain role of an outsider. Eva, on the other hand, who in the beginning is confused by her new country, slowly gains ground, observing the impact and fusion of close and distant worlds, the colliding perceptions of what the word “freedom” really means. Within the colorful threads of the American stories another yarn is weaved, an old story from distant “Bohemia,” which at first seems unrelated but is essentially the strand that makes the novel into a fine tapestry worth reading.
Anisa (An American Mini-novel); Argo Publishing, 2015
Book Review by Marci Shore
Anísa is set in southern California in the 1990s. For those who had run away from the grey, repressive side of the Iron Curtain, what could be more alienating than to move to a land of perpetual sun and surfing, wine bars on beaches, designer boutiques? It is a strange moment for Czech émigrés, who now, after the Velvet Revolution, are no longer exiles. The Cold War is over. The doors are open.
Šafránková writes with a keen appreciation for the difficulty of baking pumpkin pie, the dazzling effect of low-cut red dresses worn with black pearls, the beauty of velvety moss and tea roses, and the comfort of gardening in a foreign land. Anísa is almost cunningly crafted, an exquisite balance between the lightly satirical and warmly sympathetic. The novel exploits the fresh gaze of the outsider, who perceives the ridiculous, the absurd, the ironic with the clarity of a child whose senses are not yet dulled, who is not yet mindlessly habituated to his daily world.
Šafránková gives us a touch of sado-masochism, a glimpse into the dark side of passion, and an exposure of the vulnerability of independence. Anísa’s light satiricism is in some sense deceptive, for in-between the lines the author poses quite serious questions: what are possibilities and limits of reinventing one’s own self? What is culture—and what is the human condition? Cultural difference is real, and tangible—we learn—yet even so, all that is solid melts into air in the face of life’s fundamental unpredictability.
Marci Shore is associate professor of history at Yale University and the author, most recently, of The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe