The Sound of the Sundial is the internationally acclaimed novel by Czech author Hana Andronikova, told over the course of a single day and night, but spanning three continents and much of the twentieth century. In this intimate and affecting love story about a German-Czech builder and his Jewish wife, Andronikova sends her readers on a captivating journey through time and memory, from the Czech town of Zlín in the 1920s to Calcutta in the 1930s, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz during World War II, Toronto in the decades afterward, and finally into modern-day Denver, Colorado. It is at once a deeply personal narrative and an homage to the lost relationship of the Czech, German, and Jewish peoples. In 2002, The Sound of the Sundial received the Czech Republic's prestigious Magnesia Litera Award in the category of Best New Discovery, just a few years before its author died of cancer at the age of 44. It is making its world premiere appearance in English here.
Hana Andronikova was born in Zlín, Czech Republic in 1967, and studied English and Czech literature at Charles University in Prague. She turned to writing full time after many years of working in the corporate financial sector, and won instant acclaim for her first novel, The Sound of the Sundial (Knizní klub, 2001) receiving the Czech Book Club Literary Award and the Magnesia Litera Award for Best New Discovery in 2002. Her book of short stories, Heart on a Hook (Petrov, 2002), cemented her national literary reputation, and in 2007 she was sponsored by the U.S. State Department to attend the International Writing Program at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was particularly noted for her use of time as a structural element in the narrative, and her skill at conveying intimate and dramatic moments using terse sentences and fragments. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after her return home. Her book Heaven Has No Floor (Odeon, 2010) is a personal chronicle of her fight with illness and the looming possibility of death. For this work she won the Magnesia Litera again in 2011, but lost the battle for her life at the end of that same year. She was 44 years old.
David Short graduated with a BA in Russian with French from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) in 1965 and spent 1966-72 in Prague, studying, working, and translating. He taught Czech and Slovak at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London from 1973 to 2011. Among his literary publications are Bohumil Hrabal: Pirouettes on a Postage Stamp (Prague: Karolinum, 2008) and Vítězslav Nezval: Valerie and her Week of Wonders (Prague: Twisted Spoon Press & Jeppe Press, 2005). He has translated a wide range of literary and academic texts and has won awards both for translations and for his contribution to Czech and Slovak studies. In 2004, he was awarded the Czech Minister of Culture's Artis Bohemicae Amicis medal and the Medal of the Comenius University in Bratislava.