Tomáš Zmeškal’s debut novel, Milostný dopis klínovým písmem, is both a history and a love story, which touches on moral issues, myths and science fiction. This family saga might also be seen as a collage or a mosaic.
The main plot is set in Czechoslovakia between the 1940s and the 1990s and its narrative concerns the tragic stories of one family. Josef meets his wife, Květa, before the Second World War at a public lecture on Hittite culture. Květa chooses Josef over their mutual friend Hynek. At the beginning of the 50s, Hynek starts work as a police investigator and, when Josef is arrested and imprisoned, Květa gives herself to Hynek in return for help and advice.
The story of Josef and Květa isn’t set out in chronological order and so, in the very first chapter, we find ourselves at the end of the 60s when their daughter, Alice, is about to get married. At the end of the novel we meet Josef, his life in danger, in a West Bohemian forest during the last days of the war.
This is a work with a thoughtfully considered structure. Several chapters contain stories from other eras and other lands - these fantasies point to the finality and uniqueness of every human life.