Václav Pankovčín foto 1

Václav Pankovčín

21. 5. 1968
—  18. 1. 1999
ya and children's books, literary science, other, general fiction

Curriculum vitae

Born 21 May 968 in Humenné in Eastern Slovakia. After leaving secondary school, he went on to study journalism at Comenius University. He graduated in 991. He was a newspaper editor (Sme, Pravda), and later worked as a lecturer at the Philosophical Faculty of Comenius University. Pankovčín died 18 January 1999 in Bratislava, aged 30. Critics classify Václav Pankovčín as a postmodernist. In his work, real experience is constantly interwoven with motifs taken from works of literature. He was mainly inspired by Latin American prose, more precisely by the so-called magical realism (G. García Márquez, etc.). The myths which fill this literature are transformed into parody in Pankovčín`s work - although not always and everywhere. He is a prose writer who has a sense of humour and this trait marked most of his work, but sometimes his absurdities have a serious ring. For example, some motifs concern the issues of life and death. Dead people are treated like the living in his stories. Rural consciousness - as he understands it - makes no distinction between the living and the dead. Pankovčín is interested in the irrational, he always weaves it into rational situations, where he creates a mysterious and inexplicable element. He also likes to play with time and space. Unknown towns or villages that were never there before appear on journeys along familiar routes, and this phenomenon shocks the story`s hero. As for time, events often occur back to front, the narrator knows what will happen beforehand, as if the future had already happened. All methods used are meant to reinforce the feeling that the world in which we live cannot be fully explained, that it is also the world of our fantasies, and that also our imagination enters these fantasies as a result of our brushes with cultural and pre-cultural stereotypes.
Pankovčín is essentially rational and his "flirtation" with irrationality has quite often a literary reason: it arose from a need to innovate old approaches to prose. Despite this, the majority of his stories "with a mystery" seem convincing because their presentation, i. e. literary creation and articulation, is convincing. Pankonvčín created a specific geographic setting in his books. This setting is (mostly) an Eastern Slovak village, which he knows from his own life. In this setting, he blends real experience with his fantastic creations. For example, the Slovak town of Humenné also appears as African Marrakech and other exotic towns and lands, deserts and polar glaciers. The author`s imagination feeds on (and may even be based on) his adventurous boyhood reading. This is evident in his children`s novel Mammoth in the Fridge, with the subtitle School Western. Pankovčín`s writing is not isolated in contemporary Slovak prose. Besides him, a group of authors with similar focus, although differing poetics, asserted themselves (P. Rankov, V. Balla, M. Vadas,
T. Horváth, and others). Their style of writing arises from the belief that blatant truths and certainties are often merely empty words. They recognize the relativity of knowledge, and therefore do not want to replace one "truth" with another, but rather lightly point out that everyone has a right to his own opinion, to his own view of the world, and that it is as good as any other.