Journey to the South

Journey to the South

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By Michal Ajvaz

Translated by Andrew Oakland

ISBN: 9781628974447

Publication Date: 5/2/23

In a small village on the southern coast of Crete, the narrator meets a young man who tells him a history of a journey that took him from Pragueto the Libyan Sea. It is a voyage to uncover the mysterious deaths of two brothers: one, murdered during a ballet performance, and the other, found by Turkish fishermen on the Asia Minor shores. 

On the move, the amateur detective is accompanied by one of the brothers's girlfriends. They have to work out a lot of traces, clues and rebuses – seemingly meaningless clusters of letters in the picture of a Hungarian painter, fragments of words created in the sea by bodies of phosphorescing worms, puzzling shapes of jelly sweets found in a small shop in Croatia or the plot of an American sci-fi thriller movie, which the protagonists watch in the cinema in Rome suburb. 

Such leads send the heroes from town to town, the plot takes part on night trains and many places in Europe - in Bratislava, Budapest, Lublan, on the islands of Mykon and Crete… With the search for the murderer of both the brothers many other stories are interconnected, and they take the readers to even more distant places of the Earth: Moscow, Boston, Mexico City…

Other Books by Michal Ajvaz

The Other City

The Golden Age

Empty Streets


"A most amazing and wonderfully original book." —The Modern Novel

Praise for Michal Ajvaz

“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.” — Salonica

Biographical Information

Michal Ajvaz was born in 1949 in Prague, to a Crimean Karaim father and an Austrian Czech mother. He has published eight works of fiction, an essay on Jacques Derrida, a book about Edmund Husserl’s philosophy, a book-length meditation on Jorge Luis Borges called The Dreams of Grammars, the Glow of Letters, and a philosophical study, Jungle of Light: Meditations on Seeing. He was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Prize and the Magnesia Litera Prize. His works of fiction have been published in fifteen languages.

Andrew Oakland is a translator from Czech and German who lives in Brno. His translations include Michal Ajvaz’s Golden Age, Empty Streets and Radka Denemarková’s Money from Hitler. He is currently working on translating a novel by Martin Reiner.