The remarkable debut novel from Marek Šindelka, already the recipient of his country's major literary awards for poetry (Jiří Orten Prize) and prose (Magnesia Litera), Aberrant is a multifaceted work that mixes and mashes together a variety of genres and styles to create a heady concoction of crime story, horror story (inspired by the Japanese tradition of kaidan), ecological revenge fantasy, and Siberian shamanism. Nothing is what it seems. What appears to be human is actually a shell occupied by an alien spirit, or demon, and what appears to be an unassuming plant is an aggressive parasite that harbors a poisonous substance within, or manifests itself as an assassin, a phantom with no real substance who pursues his victims across Europe and through a post-apocalyptic Prague ravaged by floods. The blind see, and the seeing are blind. Plants behave like animals, and animals are symbionts with plants. Through these devices, Šindelka weaves a tale of three childhood friends, the errant paths their lives take, and the world of rare plant smuggling — and the consequences of taking the wrong plant — to show the rickety foundation of illusions on which our relationship to the environment, and to one another, rests. It is a world of aberrations, anomalies, and mistakes.
"Aberrant by Marek Šindelka is a brilliantly written and ingeniously constructed novel ... when finished the reader is left with a liberating feeling of catharsis befitting the dramas of antiquity and medieval legends."
— Czech Radio
Aberrant by Marek Sindelka is a brilliantly written and ingeniously constructed novel ... when finished the reader is left with a liberating feeling of catharsis worthy of the dramas of antiquity and medieval legends. - Czech Radio
We're on shaky ground in 2017, people, and Sindelka's world of 'aberrations, anomalies, and mistakes' feels unnervingly timely, and is enormously fun in the bargain. Everyone wins. --M. Bartley Seigel, WWB Daily
Sindelka's writing is truly something to behold, and that's why the book is worth reading... --World Literature Today From its opening panorama to its dire final chapters, Aberrant reads like an art-house thriller. --Necessary Fiction
Unsettling and disturbing, Aberrant blurs the (already fuzzy) line between reality and illusion. -- Rachel Cordasco, Book Riot