Andrzej Tichy was born in Prague to a Polish mother and a Czech father. He has lived in Sweden since 1981. The author of five novels, a short story collection and a wide range of nonfiction and criticism, Tichy is widely recognized as one of the most important novelists of his generation. His latest novel Eländet (Wretchedness) is a postpolitical foray into modern day Swedish society. It was shortlisted for the August Prize 2016, Sweden’s most prestigious literary prize.
'An utterly phenomenal read: a masterclass in hyper-modernist experimentation, voice and form. Embracing the bitter realities of addiction, prejudice and inner-city turmoil, Tichy’s rapid prose roves internal dialogues, places, vernaculars and circumstances to expose a singular, absorbed world struggling to keep itself afloat. Through a complex network of characters, friends and strangers we’re made to think about the ways the human spirit can fall into despair, its ability to establish resolve, to love and remember, and the myriad philosophies it leaves us with.'
Patty Yumi Cottrell
'Wretchedness is a wild intoxicant of language, momentum, and voice. Andrzej Tichy is a master of despair.'
'Some kind of holy/unholy meeting of Thomas Bernhard and The Geto Boys, Wretchedness is an anguished, brutal, beautiful piece of phantasmagoric-realism, an act of remembrance through imagination, animated by rhythm, and pouring past you with the inevitability of the tide coming in. Brilliantly written, superbly translated, this small book packs in more sadness and moments of epiphany, more hopelessness and hope, more surviving - more life! - than most writers manage in a whole career. Remarkable.'
'Wretchedness is a red-blooded ode to the most invisible and unwanted in society - immigrant workers, the homeless, addicts, and those born into the hardest of circumstances. Tichy’s gasping, polyphonic prose flies through time and space and drug-induced states, flinging us between disturbing recollections, hopeless presents, and deferred or tainted futures - all connected by bittersour camaraderies and the remedying power of music.'
August Prize Judges
‘What can a survivor do with their history? Can you be loyal to the friends you left behind? Andrzej Tichý turns this wretched reality into something poignant. His polyphonic novel has a rough, rhythmic melody and a ferocious rage.’
‘In virtuousically rendered language; full of the poetry of spoken word, the innovation of contemporary slang, and the philosophical verve of great literature, Tichý gives a voice to the lost ‘brothers’ of his youth. To follow this frantic, mournful, bamboozling, pleading, smart, childish, would-be hard, bragging, desperate and despairing collective memory is to ‘hear’ a whole forsaken generation. Despite the embracing of darkness, despite the absence of hope and faith, it is a magnificent elegy, teeming with life.’
‘In terms of ambition, few contemporary Swedish authors can compete with Tichý. The same goes for linguistic intensity. His prose rushes forward, roaring with, if you will, dark poetry, hurling its rage at an indifferent present. Wretchedness is a furious novel.’
‘Authors like Tichý are needed to keep our literature alive. He is drilling frenetically, refusing to neglect the suffering and succeeds to light a spark on a linguistic tinder.’