Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else

by Daniela Fischerová

Translated by Neil Bermel




"[A] taut, intelligent collection of stories ...
'You’ve given us something unique to taste,' the empress says.
In this collection, elegantly translated by Neil Bermel, so too has Fischerová."
—Gabriel Sanders, New York Times Book Review


"The range of tone and material in this collection of seven short stories attests to
Fischerová’s mastery of the genre … Adroitly translated by Bermel, this collection
is an excellent introduction to one of the most influential Czech writers
in the literary generation following that of Milan Kundera."
Publishers Weekly


"These are precisely told stories cut clean of any fat, but generously seasoned with elusive,
well-measured layers of meaning. ... a skillful display of the masterful sleight-of-hand style
that makes her work both direction for continued exploration and a wholly satisfying end in itself"
—Tim Rogers, The Prague Post

[S]even superbly wrought stories ... An enchanting volume, and a wonderful introduction
to the work of an immensely gifted writer.
—Kirkus Reviews



Considering the popularity of Milan Kundera, Václav Havel, and other Czech authors of the Prague Spring generation, it should come as a great surprise that Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else by Daniela Fischerová, translated by Neil Bermel, was the first volume of fiction by a Czech writer born in the 1940s or 1950s to be published in the U.S.
        Fischerová is a leading writer of the Czech baby-boom generation. Her plays have been staged around the world, including in the United States, and she has also won numerous awards for her books, screenplays, and radio plays.
        In Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, a collection of seven stories, Fischerová weaves ordinary material into stories that are fresh and surprising. She creates special, decisive moments that have a force similar to those in the works of E. M. Forster. She approaches such typical occurrences as a child's relationship with her aunt and a woman's relationship with a married man as if no one has ever written about them before. And she does so with meticulous craftsmanship: in the structure of her stories, in the ways she employs words, and in the way she combines ideas and emotions.
        In Fischerová's stories, relationships are extremely fragile, based on make-believe and a failure to truly communicate. Escape is ever present and always futile.

$19.95 cloth, 192 pages, ISBN 0-945774-44-3. Also available as an e-book.




To read a story from Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else, click here.




Daniela Fischerová is a leading Czech writer of the Czech baby boom generation. She is best known for her plays, which have been staged around the world, including in the United States. She is also known for her children's books, screenplays, and radio plays, and is the winner of numerous awards.
        She graduated from the FAMU (Film Academy) in Prague with a major in scriptwriting. Her first play, Dog and Wolf , caused such a political scandal that she was banned from having her plays performed for eight years. Two of her stories have appeared in recent anthologies: "A Letter to President Eisenhower" in Daylight in Nightclub Inferno: Czech Fiction form the Post-Kundera Generation (Catbird, 1997); and "Allskin Dances on Tables," in a different translation, as the title story of Allskin and Other Tales by Contemporary Czech Women (1998).
        Three of her plays, Dog and Wolf , Sudden Misfortune, and The Massage Table, have been performed and published in the United States. Fischerová lives in Prague.

Neil Bermel, the translator, teaches Czech and Russian at Sheffield University in England. He has also translated two novels by the Czech writer Pavel Kohout, I Am Snowing (1994) and The Widow Killer (1998). A graduate of Yale University, he received his doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UC Berkeley. He grew up in New Rochelle, New York. To read Fischerová's play The Massage Table, translated by Michael Henry Heim, (which, it should be noted, is amazingly different from the stories) click here.


To see how one of the stories from Fingers Pointing Somewhere else was received here
when it was included in our anthology Daylight in Nightclub Inferno:
Czech Fiction from the Post-Kundera Generation,
see below.




More of What People Have Been Saying About
Daniela Fischerová's Stories


Daniela Fischerová's "Letter for President Eisenhower" is the best short story in Daylight in Nightclub Inferno — a wonderful and strange girlhood maturation narrative, with a sexual candor that avoids all pretense of glamor or shame
—D. N. Mager, Choice

Perhaps the best fiction in Daylight in Nightclub Inferno is Daniela Fischerová's "A Letter for President Eisenhower," set in '50s Czechoslovakia. ... The opening of "Eisenhower" invites the reader into the fecund imagination of a ten-year-old writer. "'Sometimes it seems that everything's pretend,' she says. 'That it's only a gesture that misses its mark.'"
        In this game of pretend, Fischerová weaves and unweaves parallel stories of imagination and young love like some Penelope of the Pen. The lives of the narrator and her neighbor, a budding young lesbian, Sasha, briefly intersect on the mountaintops of the artist's imagination — and eventually in Sasha's bed. But first, the writer takes her friend on a tour of her imaginary mountains, whose frozen summits are glittering emblems of immutable love. To continue the game, it's imperative that they never reach the top, the climax.
—Jesse Bryant Wilder, Cleveland Live (Cleveland Plain Dealer's on-line publication)

In "A Letter for President Eisenhower," Daniela Fischerová creates a multilayered meditation on truths and fictions, innocence, curiosity, politics and expressions of love both physical and imaginative.
—Anthony Tognazzini, Prague Post (English-language weekly)





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