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Ivan Klima is widely recognized as one of the most important Czech writers of his generation. His new novel, No Saints or Angels, is set in Prague during the summer of 1998 and spans three generations, from the Second World War to the present day. Told with great poise and affection, it attempts to make sense of the new, queasy democracy that followed the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and beautifully captures the shifting realities of contemporary Prague.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862075368
ISBN-10: 1862075360
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x 18mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 17-Oct-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » As so often in the work of the great Czech writer and former dissident, a key theme here is love. But even more, this is a novel about people needing to learn how to be happy, as they struggle to cope with their lives in post-communist Prague. Kristyna, a divorced, 40-something dentist, was born symbolically on the day her father's hero, Joseph Stalin, died. It is now 1998 and she is prone to nightmares and constantly tired, the sort of tiredness that comes with feeling sad and lonely. She's got a lot on her plate: an elderly mother trying to cope with her husband's recent death; an ex-husband dying of cancer; and a daughter, Jana, who's suddenly turned into a teenage rebel, skipping school and hanging out with punks. On top of all that, she's unsettled by a series of threatening anonymous letters. Then she starts a relationship with a much younger man, Jan, a former pupil of her husband's. Both of them are coming to terms with the past. Kristyna is confronted with the secret life revealed in the diaries kept by her father, responsible for political indoctrination in the hated People's Militia, and can't reconcile herself to the death of many members of her mother's family in the gas chambers, while Jan secretly dreams of avenging his father's persecution by the communists through his work uncovering the crimes of the previous regime. Her self-confidence marginally boosted by Jan's attentions, Kristyna finds the strength to attempt to save Jana from imminent self-destruction. Kl'ma's humanity and his obvious affection and sympathy for his characters make this a thoroughly engrossing story that also gives an interesting picture of a city that is far from the glitzy Prague known to tourists: marred by pollution and traffic, yet with rows of villas and little gardens and ducks rising out of the undergrowth on the river bank. Review by VIVIENNE MENKES-IVRY (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Ivan Klima

Ivan Klima is the author of many plays and novels including The Ultimate Intimacy and Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light. A collection of stories, My Golden Trades, and a non-fiction book, The Spirit of Prague, are also available from Granta Books.

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