The Visible World | Granta

  • Published: 01/01/2008
  • ISBN: 9781846270864
  • 129x20mm
  • 256 pages

The Visible World

Mark Slouka

‘My mother knew a man during the war. Theirs was a love story, and like any good love story, it left blood on the floor and wreckage in its wake.’ As a boy growing up in New York, the narrator’s parents’ memories of their Czech homeland seem to belong to another world, as distant and unreal as the fairy tales his father tells him. It is only as an adult, when he makes his own journey to Prague, that he is finally able to piece together the truth of his parents’ past: what they did, whom his mother loved, and why they were never able to forget.

This is lush, luminous fiction

Oprah Winfrey

Exquisitely written ... Slouka's rapturous intensity more than justifies comparisons with Ondaatje and Berger

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

Slouka's prose is always exquisite

Time Out

The Author

Mark Slouka’s short fiction has featured in Best American Short Stories and has been awarded a National Magazine Award for Fiction. He is a Contributing Editor at Harper’s, and the author of The Woodcarver’s Tale and God’s Fool (Knopf and Picador). He is Professor of English Literature at the University of Chicago.

More about the author →

From the Same Author


Mark Slouka

As an infant, Jon Mosher tragically lost his older brother to a freak accident – something that could have happened to any family. There’s nothing he could have done to prevent it, but there it is anyway, that loss echoing in every room and painted on the faces of his parents – German Jews who’d escaped the war – as if to say: you weren’t, and aren’t, enough. Saddled with this absence, Jon’s life has been defined by what’s missing and what he lacks; that is, until in high school he befriends wisecracking Ray, a reckless boy with a volatile father. Against the backdrop of the Summer of Love and the encroaching Vietnam War, Jon dreams of ultimately leaving his grey, blue-collar town, but is set on an irrevocable course as the escalating violence of Ray’s home life threatens to shatter their bright-eyed plans to escape. Torn between obligation and desire, Jon’s faced with the impossible decision of whether to help, or run.

In this magnificent, haunting novel, Slouka brilliantly captures the polarising forces of a working class, hardscrabble ethos and the hopeful vibrancy of the sixties and early seventies. With concise, wise prose, Slouka weaves together a tapestry of family, fate, friendship, and the impossibility of ever, really, leaving home.

Mark Slouka on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Labyrinth of the Heart

Mark Slouka

‘Every marriage is forged differently; some crack at a touch, others endure beyond belief, still others are tempered by events and time.’

Fiction | The Online Edition


Mark Slouka

‘It was in January, I think. That weekend, more than any other, the thought of her leaving seemed impossible.’

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

The Little Museum of Memory

Mark Slouka

‘Maybe they're worried that their absence will be noticed. Maybe they just want to come home.’