The novel is about an alternative history of the world. Atahualpa, ruler of the Inca Empire, lands in the Europe of Charles V. What does it look like there? The Spanish Inquisition, Luther’s Reformation, early capitalism. A continent divided by religious and dynastic quarrels. And, above all, tortured, starving, rebellious people – Toledo Jews, Granada Moors, German peasants as potential allies. From Cuzco to Aachen, and to the Battle of Lepanto, this is the way of the narrative: a strangely believable counter-factual history of the modern world, fizzing with ideas about the eternal human quest for domination. All that might actually have taken place – if the Indians had had horses, bicycles or the right antibodies – and we would have had to rewrite history.
Published by Argo, 2021
Laurent Binet (* 1972), is a French writer, who, among other things, originally taught French at the military academy in Košice. His novel HHhH (in Czech in 2010), which was later awarded the Goncourt Prize, was published in 2009 and was also adapted into a film. An amusing semiological-conspiracy pun, The Seventh Function of Language (La Septième Fonction du langage (2017), was also published in Czech. His most recent novel, Civilizations (Civilizations), won the 2019 French Academy Award.
Video by Martin Sedlák.