Born: September 27th, 1924 - Nachod, Czech Republic
Died: Janurary 3rd, 2012 - Toronto, Canada
Regarded as a Czech-Canadian writer
I am a Czech and I am a loyal citizen of Canada, he told an interviewer in 2006.
(Ref NYT HERE)
We may think we live for wisdom, but in fact we're living for the the pleasure wisdom brings us.
- The Engineer of Human Souls
After sixty years of the Soviet state’s struggle against art, it should be obvious that Marxists in power do not trouble themselves about aesthetics.
- Hipness at Noon
There’s this tradition in Czech literature that books are sacred, and therefore the language used in writing books is very formal—without contractions, distortions, or slang...
Hemingway. I suddenly saw that you could write dialogue as people spoke it. But I didn’t read Hemingway until the end of the war in an English-language Swedish edition of A Farewell to Arms. And then I read everything. It opened my eyes. I realized that you could write dialogue that need not be informational; it simply was.
If you live in a country where politics are oppressive and you write—or try to write—you can’t avoid being a political writer. I enjoy writing about other things, but to write a novel about Bohemia in the past forty years and avoid politics entirely would be to write some sort of romantic idyll that never existed. I consider myself a realistic writer; it’s unfortunate that one becomes a political writer out of necessity.
Every writer writes, first of all, for himself. I think my primary readership consists of intelligent exiles because I write about Czechs not only in Czechoslovakia, but also in North America as in my new novel, about the role of Czechs during the Civil War. But I believe that if something has relevance for people of my own nation, then it probably has relevance for everybody, and that there’s something universal about it. The accidentals may be different, but the basics are the same, and they’re universal.
- Paris Review Interview - 1989 - but interview actually conducted 1985