New InfinityBára Hladík
I wait for paperwork to churn her impossible crank, so I can finally hold the bowl of my pelvis
like a flower. bow to my body and tell her
I’m sorry. one day we will be
New Infinity is an experimental novella that follows a woman as she lives and dreams her way through the philosophical implications of autoimmune disease. Met by a labyrinth of closing doors, she searches for meaning and connection among fragmented realities and failed relationships, finding infinitude in the healing process of bibliomancy.
Bára Hladík’s New Infinity is a glittering cross-genre debut. Weaving surrealist stories with meditative poetics, Hladík invites you into a dream world of degenerative illness, left disordered by the failures of ableism, medical professionals, and late-stage capitalism. Here, everything runs on sick time. Where physical health and financial resources grow scarce, the restorative possibilities of queer love, divination, and self-reclamation grant a defiant, yet often tenuous, abundance. Alive with Hladík’s boundless insight and wit, New Infinity is a powerful addition to the collective body of disability literature.
“I have been waiting for a book like New Infinity for years: a story of disability that oozes over the edges of ‘personal narrative’ into the surreal logics of bodies that will not be made useful under capitalism. Bára Hladík’s prose delights me with its 21st-century metamorphoses, its waiting-room dream logics, and its mystical invocations of a body in pain. Her poetry is a channel to another dimension, but one that is grounded inside our everyday sensoria—’cracking, pushing, pulsing’ like a spine writhing with snakes. Here, embodiment is never extractable from the institutions and economies whose profits are predicated on the question ‘do I matter if / I am only a pulse’? New Infinity insists upon a different kind of mattering, in which missed connections, improper fusions, and fleeting moments command the careful, caring attention that is too often denied them.”
– Liz Bowen, author of Compassion Fountain (Trembling Pillow Press) and Sugarblood (Metatron Press)
“New Infinity is the most incredible fiction. It explodes the boundaries of this form so as to get to the heart of important truths about the phenomenon of physical pain and of human existence itself. While Bára Hladík’s story draws from a personal experience of survival through a struggle unlike any other, it is an entirely universal tale. In taking us into the most intimate spaces of suffering and narrating a story of a woman navigating a true labyrinth, Hladík shows us a way to face life, with the uncertainties it presents to us all.
This novel is at once a profoundly moving story, a brilliant act of creativity, and an existential philosophy. It’s a book I will keep close, so as to revisit— for the thrilling inspiration of its liberated uses of form and style, as well as to learn from Hladík’s honest language, her resilient sense of humour, and her ability to capture the surreal beauty of being alive at all. I felt like I was reading Franz Kafka crossed with a fully unconstrained Anne Carson. I haven’t been so impacted by a book in a long time. It has changed my ways of seeing, feeling, and thinking about what it means to be alive.”
– Molly Lynch, author of The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman (Catapult Books, 2023)
“Bára Hladík’s debut book is a blend of poetry and prose that seeks to make sense of a world that is flagrantly hostile and impatient with bodies that neither perform nor conform to the manic impatience of capitalist acceleration. An honest, vibrant, and very real account of a young writer finding a voice.”
– Sina Queyras, writer, editor, professor, curator
“Bára Hladík’s New Infinity is a stirring pedagogy, philosophy, and witness. This offering of sick hybridity coils in a long, calm, and exhilarating breath while asking, ‘Do the doctors know how to breathe?’ Yes, Hladík’s prose and poems prompt, pain cosmologies are at once funny and incantatory. Each of New Infinity’s oneiric turns reads the body as an oracle and mirror, reminds us we are atmospheric. I would rather live here in this book, relearn how to breathe, than return to the ‘impossible crank’ of normal.”
– Jane Shi, writer, poet, editor, organizer
Broken Pencil | “For readers who live with chronic pain stepping into the book, I can imagine how good it will be to feel seen. For readers who do not experience chronic pain, New Infinity is a generous pedagogy that is sure to nourish an emergence of empathy and understanding.”
The Ex-Puritan | “Bára Hladík is picking out (…) the patient truths lodged in the granular, where things erode, break down to their most fatal and fundamental.”
Poetry in Transit | 2022 Featured Poet
Luna Luna Mag | ‘New Infinity,’ Disability, & Folklore
Spoken Web | Talking Transcription: Accessibility, Collaboration, and Creativity
Bára Hladík is a Czech-Canadian writer, editor and multimedia artist. Born in Ktunaxa Territory, she began her literary studies in the Creative Writing program at Capilano University in 2011. After studying Technical Writing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Communications from the University of British Columbia in 2016. Her work can be found in Briarpatch Magazine, THIS Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Carte Blanche, EVENT Mag, Hamilton Arts and Letters, Bed Zine, Empty Mirror, Cosmonauts Avenue and elsewhere. Bára’s microchapbook Book of Mirrors was selected for the 2019 Ghost City Press Summer Micro-Chap Series and her collaborative artist book Behind the Curtain (Publication Studio, 2018) was an honourable mention for the Scorpion and Felix Prize (2017). New Infinity is Bára’s first book. She is now a guest in Esquimalt, BC.