By Ivana Dobrakovová

Ivana Dobrakovová’s second book is a novel about volunteers in a facility for the disabled in Marseille and about their relationships. To be able to pinpoint the process of deconstruction of a personality asks for empathy and pathological precision. For the main protagonist, Blanka, volunteering at the facility is a summer job. She wants to help where she is needed and where it most makes sense. The lazy summer atmosphere seems to promise a nice enough routine with a pinch of romance thrown in, yet this illusion does not last long and soon first conflicts arise. They keep adding up and start a whole range of negative emotions which consume the fragile girl more and more. The depressive helplessness of the handicapped inhabitants of Bellevue troubles her at first, later it annoys and later still terrifies her to the point of aversion. When Blanka’s efforts to make friends with the patients go awry, she tries to create ties within the group of volunteers. Although this seems promising in the beginning, Blanka’s inner decay soon takes over and forces her to isolate herself in fear. Her position reminds us of the undignified status of the patients that she has instinctively rejected.