The Bonnet

translated by Julia and Peter Sherwood

June 2024

217 pages, hardcover

ISBN 978-1-80309-352-9

The Bonnet, the first work of prose by Slovak poet Katarína Kucbelová, defies easy pigeonholing: both political and personal, it is a work of literary reportage, a quest for one’s roots, a critical exploration of folk art and, not least, social commentary on the coexistence of the Slovak majority and the Roma minority, offering a nuanced and sympathetic look at the lives of Roma people in Slovakia and raising important questions about the nature of prejudice and discrimination. Over two years, the author made regular visits to the remote village of Šumiac in Slovakia to learn the dying craft of bonnet making from one of its last practitioners, Il’ka, an elderly local woman who in the process became her mentor in more ways than one. Through the parallel stories of Il’ka and the narrator’s grandmother, The Bonnet also offers a subtly feminist reading of the position of women in rural Europe from the early twentieth century to the present day.

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© Mullek and Sherwood