Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia (Hardcover)

Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia

By Mariusz Szczygiel, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translator)

Melville House Publishing, 9781612193137, 276pp.

Publication Date: May 27, 2014



Winner of the Europe Book Prize
One of Europe's most preeminent investigative journalists travels to the Czech Republic--the Czech half of the former Czechoslovakia, the land that brought us Kafka--to explore the surreal fictions and the extraordinary reality of its twentieth century.
For example, there's the story of the small businessman who adopted Henry Ford's ideas on productivity to create the world's largest shoe company--and hired modernist giants such as Le Corbusier to design his company towns (which were also the birthplaces of Ivana Trump and Tom Stoppard).
Or the story of Kafka's niece, who loaned her name to writers blacklisted under the Communist regime so they could keep publishing.
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.
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 . . . in a word, Kafkaesque.

About the Author

Mariusz Szczygieł is one of Europe's most celebrated journalists. A reporter for "Gazeta Wyborcza," he is the author of a number of books of reportage about the Czech Republic and Poland. His books are published in sixteen countries and have been awarded the Europe Book Prize and the Prix Amphi, among other honors. From 1995-2001, he hosted the popular talk show "Na każdy temat "("On Any Topic") on Polish television. Together with Wojciech Tochman and Paweł Goźliński, Szczygieł runs the Institute of Reportage in Warsaw. In 2013, he was named "Journalist of the Year" in Poland.

Antonia Lloyd-Jones is the pre-eminent translator of Polish reportage: the authors she has translated included Wojciech Tochman, Wojciech Jagielski, Jacek Hugo-Bader, and Witold Szabłowski. She has received the Found in Translation Award for translation from Polish twice, in 2008 and 2012.

Praise For Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia

Praise for Gottland

“An intelligent, captivating, and much-needed book.”
—Adam Michnik

“A great book. Mariusz Szczygieł is well versed in the Polish school of reportage writing and he applies his method to this specific Czech ambiguity. Original and surprising.”
—Agnieszka Holland

“Extraordinary, hypnotizing, and disturbing tales.”

“If you want to understand the Czech Republic in the twentieth century, read Gottland.”
—Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung

“Masterful prose . . . impressive.”
—Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“One of the most valuable and eloquent testimonies about the Czech people.”
—Právo (Czech Republic)