The Movement


When women take over: a feminist dystopian novel on sexual norms

The Movement’s founding ideology emphasizes that women should be valued for their inner qualities, and not for their physical attributes. Men have been forbidden to be attracted to women on the basis of their bodies. While some continue unreformed, many submit—or are sent by wives and daughters—to the Institute for internment and reeducation. Our narrator, an unapologetic guard at one of these reeducation facilities, describes how the Movement started, her own personal journey, and what happens when a program fails. She is convinced the Movement is nearing its final victory—a time when everybody will fall in line with its ideals. Outspoken, ambiguous, and terrifying, this socio-critical satire of our sexual norms sets the reader firmly outside of their comfort zone.

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Publication date

4 November 2021




Petra Hůlová

Petra Hůlová’s provocative novels, plays, and screenplays have won numerous awards, including the ALTA National Translation Award … Read more

Book Club Questions

  1. Would you describe the world of this book as a dystopia, a utopia, or somewhere in between, and why?
  2. Do you agree/disagree with the ideals of the Movement?
  3. Do you think the society described in this novel is better or worse than the society you live in? And in what ways?
  4. Do you think the events of this novel describe a realistic future possibility?
  5. Do you think the narrator, Vera, is a reliable narrator? What are her biases? Do you think she is in touch with her own emotions?
  6. Did you spot any rhetorical sleights of hand in Vera’s ideologically colored comments?
  7. In your view, were they innocuous tools to highlight the positive and righteous elements in her point of view? Or did you perhaps even see signs of cognitive dissonance?
  8. Vera’s past is only subtly hinted at within the book, but what can you glean from these hints? Is there anything in her past that could explain her current character?
  9. Do you think she is lonely, happy; how might you describe her?
  10. Do you think the system of treatment organized by the Movement works? Or do you think the men are likely to relapse once they return to their normal lives?
  11. Do you think the system of treatment is humane, or does it violate certain rights? Or, in your opinion, do the women of the Movement perhaps have a right to treat men in such a way?
  12. Do you think the treatment is more likely to be effective on men or women? And, if you see a difference between the two, why do you think that is?
  13. If you were a member of such a Movement, how would you do things differently?
  14. What do you think about the men’s opposition groups? Do you agree/disagree with their ideals? Or do you think perhaps that both sides in some ways are in the right?
  15. Did you find this book funny, or was it, for you, deadly serious? How did the style of the book make you feel? How did it add to the book’s themes and atmosphere?

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Praise for Petra Hůlová

“Petra Hůlová is one of the most distinctive and outspoken Czech writers of her generation.”
Project Plume

Praise for The Movement

“One part Animal Farm, one part The Handmaid’s Tale, one part A Clockwork Orange, and (maybe) one part Frankenstein, Czech writer Hůlová’s novel dismantles the patriarchy and replaces it with a terrifying alternative…Hůlová’s provocative satire of a feminist future challenges and unsettles in equal parts.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The novel is dark and satirical; while feminism is in the foreground, the author somehow manages a balancing act between manifesto and critique.”
Literary Hub

“A thought-provoking and disturbing dystopian tale of a feminist revolution.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hůlová wants her readers uncomfortable, and succeeds beautifully, distorting and exaggerating admirable aspirations, asking what we are willing to sacrifice for a better society, and wondering what the New World should look like.”
Calvert Journal

“With echoes of The Handmaid’s Tale but putting the women in charge, The Movement beckons us into a brave new world where men are institutionalised and re-educated—by any means necessary—to value women’s inner worth. The Movement challenges and unsettles, offering a candid glimpse of the underbelly of feminist utopia, and raising important ethical questions about how far we might want or have to go in order to secure a truly equal world. Hůlová’s distinctive voice is crystallised in Alex Zucker’s fierce and flawless translation: this unapologetically provocative story is simultaneously a clarion call, a feminist manifesto, and a warning of the dangers lurking in both the old world and the new.”
HELEN VASSALLO, Translating Women

“Hůlová’s story can be read primarily as a timeless fable about how the best of human intentions always end up paving the road to some totalitarian hell.”
Dublin Review of Books

“Petra Hůlová has managed to write a book which is committed in the best sense of the word: it unsettles, provokes, angers. It forces you to think while also maintaining a high literary standard.”

“By setting her story in a dystopian world, Petra Hůlová has created room for a narrative which goes far beyond today’s discussions in society about equal rights and protection for women.”

“Petra is the first person I would give my pen to if she asked; Petra is a Pegasus, a creature of mythology; Petra has wings that let her fly above the people, cars, survey offices, social-welfare offices, beer tents, and double beds; she flies; then she types on her computer with her four hooves, pounding, beating, and asks herself: ‘who are the people covering the sunlight?’ Petra, Pegasus, I throw my pencil up in the air for you; fly along; fly.”
ARMIN PETRAS, director of The Movement’s German stage adaptation

Praise for All This Belongs to Me

“A beautifully fluent translation that portrays each character in convincingly idiomatic English, and yet still manages to distinguish the five closely related main characters according to their individual temperaments. The story is compelling on personal and broader, political levels, the characters are deeply human, and their difficult choices are portrayed with great dignity. All in all, this is a book to be savored and treasured.”
JURY, American Literary Translators Association, National Translation Award

“An acutely observed account.”
Times Literary Supplement

All This Belongs to Me invites us into this singular universe created by Petra Hůlová, Mongolian but also abstract and timeless, and filled with memorable female characters that resonate with the readers.”
World Literature Today

“A powerful story of roots and tradition, female strengths and weaknesses, personal tragedy and loss.”

“What it led me into was a Mongolian urban society, in Ulaanbaatar, that I had not expected. Again, it was a breaking down of certain stereotypes as I read this book—our vision of Mongolia is the steppes and Genghis Khan, and that certainly is in the background, but the lives that these women are living are very much late-twentieth-century lives in a post-Soviet world.”
Here & Now


Praise for Three Plastic Rooms

“An extraordinary and memorable read from beginning to end. A must for the personal reading lists for anyone who appreciates a unique and especially well-crafted novel.”
Wisconsin Bookwatch

“The potential impact of Three Plastic Rooms on the Anglophone audience is greatly assisted by the experienced translator from Czech, Alex Zucker, who excelled himself at converting Hůlová’s highly challenging colloquialisms into English without losing too much in the process.”

Three Plastic Rooms is a journey through a person’s soul in search of something resembling happiness and humanity in the gloating world of capitalism. A frighteningly honest novel—not easy to like, but impossible not to appreciate. The dark subject matter is somewhat balanced by Hůlová’s verbal effervescence. She is a writer with a true passion for language.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

Asymptote Journal

Three Plastic Rooms is unrelenting in both language and content, but beneath the sex scenes as foul as the language used to describe them it throbs with a rawness and a black humor that render this unlikely anti-heroine an addictive narrator.”
HELEN VASSALLO, Translating Women

“A foul-mouthed Prague prostitute muses on her profession, aging and the nature of materialism. She explains her world view in the scripts and commentaries of her own reality TV series combining the mundane with fetishism, violence, wit, and an unvarnished mixture of vulgar and poetic language.”
English PEN

“There is a build-up of intimacy amid the brutal and lyrical narration, attesting to Hůlová’s generosity in this portrait, devoid of satire and facile judgement. A notable achievement.”
Times Literary Supplement