Nominated by:

Regional Library of Karviná, Karviná-Mizerov, Czech Republic

Městská knihovna Třinec, Czech Republic

Multnomah County Library, Portland, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bellevue Literary Press, USA

The Attempt

Magdaléna Platzová    

Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker

When a Czech historian becomes convinced he’s the illegitimate great-grandson of an infamous anarchist who attempted an assassination while living in the United States, he travels to New York to investigate. Arriving in Manhattan during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, his research takes him further back into the past—from the Pittsburgh home of a nineteenth-century US industrialist to 1920s Europe, where a celebrated anarchist couple is on the run from the law.

Based on the lives of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, The Attempt is a novel about the legacy of radical politics and relationships—one that traverses centuries and continents to deliver a moving, powerful story of personal and political transformation.

About the author & translator

Magdaléna Platzová is the author of six books, including two novels published in English: Aaron’s Leap, a Lidové Noviny Book of the Year Award finalist, and The Attempt, a Czech Book Award finalist. Her fiction has also appeared in A Public Space and Words Without Borders. Platzová grew up in the Czech Republic, studied in Washington, DC, and England, received her MA in Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, and has taught at New York University’s Gallatin School. She is now a freelance journalist based in Lyon, France

Alex Zucker, an award-winning translator of Czech literature. He has received an English PEN Award for Writing in Translation, an NEA Literary Fellowship, and the ALTA National Translation Award. He currently serves as co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments

Based on the lives of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, The Attempt is a masterful novel about the legacy of radical politics and relationships – one that traverses centuries and continents to deliver a moving, powerful story of personal and political transformation. Translated by Alex Zucker, an award-winning translator of Czech literature.

This intriguing story of a present-day Czech immigrant who imagines himself as the great grandson of a Russian anarchist is beautifully written.

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