The novel about volunteers working in a facility for the disabled in Marseille and about their complicated relationships has already been translated into Bulgarian and Polish. All translations were supported by the grant system SLOLIA. In 2020, the book was longlisted for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Prize.
Corine Tachtiris on World Literature Today: "The novel shows us the uglier side of caregiving, when one gives in to frustration and exhaustion and thinks: Why can’t you just be well?"
European Literature Network features a text by Lucy Popescu: "Blanka’s inner turmoil is reflected in the breakdown of language, beautifully rendered in Julia and Peter Sherwood’s translation. Blanka’s speech becomes fragmented, repetitive, a stream of consciousness; she refers to herself in the second person (just as she has referred to the residents)."
"Bellevue is not a comfortable read, but nor is it meant to be: it is a brave and unflinching account of mental illness, and an unsparing critique of a world that fosters it." – Helen Vassallo on her blog Translating Women.
Daniel W. Pratt for Los Angeles Review of Books: "Svetlana misguidedly attributes Blanka’s mental illness to a continuing adolescence, effectively telling Blanka to just grow up. But Sveltana’s own image of adulthood provides no real closure, just repression, sadness, and perseverance. Unlike North American YA novels that offer either happy endings of good triumphing over evil, or lessons for the young reader, Dobrakovová leaves the reader knowing that Blanka’s struggles with mental health will continue, inconclusively, for many more years."
The title of Donald Rayfield's review for Literary Review is Madness and Misanthropy: "Ivana Dobrakovová is well known in her native Slovakia as a translator of Elena Ferrante. In Bellevue she shows even greater ability than Ferrante to get into the mind of a rebellious adolescent girl."
Julia and Peter Sherwood's website has additional information on the texts they have translated. On slovakliterature.com you can find further bibliographic notes as well as an English-language excerpt from the novel. You can also read an excerpt in Slovak on our website and another English abstract on Books from Slovakia.