Whatever else the novel Ashtrays may be, it is certainly a linguistic tour de force — all the more remarkable given that the author, Lukas Tomin, is a Czech who has chosen to write in English. The imagery is stiking and highly original, the speech rhythm — whether British or American English — remarkably fluent and accurate, and the style as a whole has a mellifluous, poetic quality. It also has that essential and often forgotten ingredient for a novel: It makes the reader want to turn its pages. Unlike Tomin's first novel The Doll, there is little trace of mysticism . . . Instead, what we get is a gritty, sordid portrait of Parisian low-life couched in language of great originality that gives even the most squalid passages a compelling intensity.— Michael Halstead, The Prague Post... the most innovative and refreshing piece that I have read in a while ...— CupsThere is no question that Tomin has talent for creating a gritty, urban, yet highly poetic atmosphere.— Prognosis
A visionary work, by an extraordinary and important young writer. As cultures and languages mix and merge, Tomin meets the subsequent literary challenge head on, and actually makes this reader hopeful about the future of the Novel.— Fay WeldonThe Doll is a sensuous and melodious flow of words that Tomin has mercilessly dragged out of his subconscious ... The result is somewhere between prose and poetry.— PrognosisTwisted Spoon's very first publication remains one of their most extreme: Lukas Tomin's The Doll. Tomin leaves his characters half-drawn for much of the book, forcing the reader to puzzle out the connections and distinctions between them. His drastic switches of style abandon cumulative effect for a series of instants, sometimes with heavily compressed plotting or circular passages of dialogue ... The novel seeks to jolt with its odd narrative rhythms, making it a rare contemporary update of the surrealist novels of Breton and Pinget. Tomin grew up in a disident family under one of the harshest periods of communist rule, and wrote The Doll in his second language, English, as an emigre in Paris. He steadfastly refuses to ground his prose in a comfortable fictional environment, just as he refused to ground it in the comfort of his native language.— David Auerbach, Rain Taxi Review of Books
[U]nique experimental prose ... depicting a surreally disjointed and thorny world.— Time Out GuideTomin's writing moves seamlessly between poetry and prose, employing rhyme and wordplay to create extra-linear meanings which deepen and extend rather than detract from the central narration. Less an experiment than an excursion into the depths of language, Tomin's work deserves to be read more widely.— Stephan Delbos, The Oxonian ReviewThe setting is contemporary London. The narrator, Kye, is a Czech expatriate who lives a life of alcoholism, dissolution, and general purposelessness ... remembering more directed times: his revels in Paris, his youth in Czechoslovakia as a student demonstrator. Kye's mind leaps and spills like a pinata. Where text becomes consciousness, the protagonist's personality, conversely, becomes a semiotic field of imaginings and symbolic markers. Avidly experimental in approach, the lines between observation and fantasy are dissolved, points of view are conflated, and the nervous drift of the narrative sweeps the reader into dislocation. While Tomin's literary influences are modernist, his voice and sense of humor are uniquely contemporary. — The Prague Post
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