Samko Talé’s Cemetery Book

Book: Samko Talé’s Cemetery Book- Daniela Kapitánová
Around the World: Slovakia
how obtained: kindle version ~$3

This book is set in post soviet union Slovakia. Samko is an intellectually challenged man, and the town drunkard who may or may not have future-telling ability has said he will write a cemetery book. So he wrote the book that we read now, but as he doesn’t know what to say about the cemetery, he instead talks about the people his life intersects with and things that have happened in the past.

Samko is a deeply flawed author- he is repetitive and circular. He has no imagination or  flexibility in his thought- he gets caught up in how things should be and can’t understand why people are doing things in a different way. Unfortunately his beliefs were shaped during communist rule, and by fearful, racist, restrictive, judgemental people. The topic of his meandering monologue flits back and forth between a few key people in his life- a friend from school, his sisters (one of whom he thoroughly disapproves of because she is  a  musician, promotes herself and wears odd clothes on album covers etc), a gypsy who competes with him for recycling to collect, the odd boarder upstairs…

Personally I didn’t really enjoy this book- Samko’s repetitiveness was annoying, and I just didn’t see the point of it all. I kind of felt like there was meant to be something at the end of the book that tied everything together and made us realise something, but it just ended. For me, it was like when you friend tries to tell you a story, but forgets partway though what they were trying to tell you and trails off “and then we, you know, hung out for a while… yeah …”

Maybe there is something I missed- if so, let me know what you thought.


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