e-book Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia

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The Czechs compromised; like many small nations, they had very little choice. The alternative was annihilation. It has carried this down from the days of the Habsburgs and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

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Moreover, these scars continue to be borne collectively, as though the Soviet era had imposed a hive mind that has yet to be completely shaken off. A small but telling example: And nobody lives in a void. There is another Vonnegut aphorism that would have been appropriate to Gottland: There is no way out that does not involve betrayal, self-annihilation, or madness one woman remarks that the mental hospital was the only place where anyone was truly free to speak with impunity. The best people suffered most, resorting to various types of Kafkaesque escape: But his great accomplishment is to have illuminated these Czech stories with such insight and humor that we end up laughing in spite of ourselves, laughing in outrage and disbelief.

The entire endeavor seems cursed.

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The model for Stalin himself, a minor actor from the Barrandov Film Studios, apparently drank himself to death: The statue itself, finally erected in and meant to last forever, is demolished and obliterated from historical records in The story, simultaneously hilarious and tragic, compares to the best of absurdist, dystopian novels. The details seem too good to be true—when we read that a taxi driver notices that one of the granite figures behind Stalin, a partisan girl, appears to have her hand on the fly of the solider standing behind her, can we really believe that we are not in the world of brilliant fiction?


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He is a thrilling storyteller, narrating the scenes in present tense, with an expert blend of action, psychological insight, and pathos. He is unusually sensitive to how the regime wormed its way into human minds:. Or the story of the singer Karel Gott, winner of the country's Best Male Vocalist Award thirty-six years in a row, whose summer home, Gottland , is the Czech Dollywood.

Gottland : mostly true stories from half of Czechoslovakia

Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with everyone from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to ordinary citizens, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient people living through difficult and often bizarre times—equally funny, disturbing, stirring and absurd.?.?. A reporter for Gazeta Wyborcza , he is the author of a number of books of reportage about the Czech Republic and Poland.


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His books are published in sixteen countries and have been awarded the Europe Book Prize and the Prix Amphi, among other honors. Return to Book Page. Hardcover , pages.

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See 1 question about Gottland…. Lists with This Book. Michal Sokolowski rated it did not like it Jul 15,