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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Případ nevěrné Kláry

Michal Viewegh

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Title: Případ nevěrné Kláry
Author: Michal Viewegh
Genre: Novel
Written: 2003
Length: 256 pages
Original in: Czech
Availability: Der Fall untreue Klára - Deutschland
Il caso dell'infedele Klára - Italia
  • Případ nevěrné Kláry has not yet been translated into English
  • Případ nevěrné Kláry was made into a film in 2009 as Il caso dell'infedele Klara, a Czech-Italian co-production directed by Roberto Faenza and starring Claudio Santamaria, Iain Glen, and Laura Chiatti

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Our Assessment:

B : decent, entertaining jealousy-yarn

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
NZZ . 25/3/2008 Ulrich M. Schmid

  From the Reviews:
  • "Viewegh erzählt diese Geschichte in flottem Tempo und baut immer dort, wo die Handlung allzu klischeehaft zu werden droht, einen Gag ein. Die besondere Qualität seines neuen Romans liegt aber nicht in der Kreuzung eines Krimis mit einer erotischen Dreiecksgeschichte, sondern in der literarischen Reflexion des Schreibprozesses." - Ulrich M. Schmid, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Most of Případ nevěrné Kláry is narrated by private detective Denis Pravda, who specializes in cases of suspected unfaithfulness. Trained as a psychologist, he worked for the Czech police until 1992, before going into business for himself. He has several co-workers, and seems to be doing well for himself, in this fairly safe segment of the private investigation-field. But he deals with jealousy -- most of his clients are jealous and suspicious spouses -- and jealousy can be dangerous too.
       Denis is flattered when successful writer Norbert Černý comes calling. Černý has a girlfriend who is about half his age: Klára, who is still a student, studying Chinese. Černý is suspicious -- but he's also willing to work whatever comes his way into his fiction, and explains that he's writing a P.I.-novel (and a story he's written about jealousy also comes to the fore eventually).
       Denis does his job, finding at first nothing suspicious about Klára's doings. Černý isn't easily convinced; he's almost consumed by jealousy. Eventually, Denis finds that there is more to Klára's comings and goings -- but he's a full-service P.I. (a veritable 'Robin Hood of love', someone suggests), and thinks he has just the right fix for his client. But when Černý wants Klára tailed all the way to China when she goes on a trip there, Denis trips himself up.
       Twice-married Denis, currently in a very open marriage, maintains he's above jealousy, and his wife also seems particularly understanding, even trying to help him bag one his young employees (eventually even going really out of her way to help him out). The love (or at least sex) being very freely dispensed seems both very Czech (shades of Kundera) and quite silly; the easy-going (or, better: laid-back (and every other which way)) approach also makes it harder to take the jealousy angle seriously enough.
       Throw in a writer -- and throw in sections from his novel-in-progress, interspersed throughout the narrative, in which a first-person narrator threatens a detective named Denis with a pistol -- and Viewegh makes it all a bit too simple for himself.
       Viewegh tells his story with casual and entertaining ease, and there's a bit of excitement, tension, and a few good twists. But he never seems to take it quite seriously enough, satisfied with offering a simple amusement rather than trying a bit harder (which he seems perfectly capable of). (His writing in many ways resembles that of Paul Theroux, and Případ nevěrné Kláry is very much like one of Theroux's lesser entertainments -- still worthwhile, but leaving the sensation that there could have been more to it.)
       Good but unexceptional fun.

- M.A.Orthofer, 22 February 2010

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Případ nevěrné Kláry: Reviews: Il caso dell'infedele Klara - the movie: Michal Viewegh: Other books by Michal Viewegh under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Popular Czech author Michal Viewegh was born in 1962.

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