Bliss Was it in Bohemia

Michal Viewegh

Michal Viewegh: Bliss Was it in Bohemia

Original title: Báječná léta pod psa


Genre: novel


Publisher:

Československý spisovatel 1992, 1994, 199?, 199?; Petrov 1997, 2002; Druhé město 2013


ISBN: 80-7227-135-0


Pages: 238


Awards:

Jiří Orten Prize 1993


Foreign editions:

German (Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, 1998; Piper, 2000), Hungarian (Jelenkor-Jak-fûzetek, 1994), Dutch (Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, 1995), Hebrew (Eked, 1997), Croatian (Znanje, 1998; Profil, 2010), Russian (Inostrannaya Literatura, magazin, 1997), Serbian (Stylos, 1999), Slovenian (Delo, newspaper), Italian (Mondadori, 2001), Danish (Gyldendal, 2001), Slovenian (Sanje, 2003), Polish (Swiat Literacki, 2004), Bulgarian (Colibri, 2010), Latvian (Mansards, 2012), Belarussian (Logvinov, 2013), English (Jantar Publishing, 2015)

Summary


A wildly comic story about the fate of one ordinary Czech family over the course of 20 years, from the 1960's. At turns humorous, ironic and sentimental, an engaging portrait of their attempts to flee from history (meaning socialism) - or at least to ignore it as long as possible.
The author depicts with humorous hyperbole his parents´ life stories and also his own years of adolescence. A bitter comedy about the life of a peculiar Czech family deals with rather an attractive theme: the grey years of socialism are for numerous eyewitnesses also the happy years of their youth. The story focuses on the difficulties of a father, an eccentric workaholic with a university degree, whose efforts to protect his family without losing his own dignity leads to the threshold of insanity. In the course of the same period, the extraordinarily gifted Kvido lives out his own troubles as a writer of fiction.

 

Over 60,000 copies sold in the Czech Republic alone.

In 2002, Michal Viewegh published a sequel to this book under the title The Wonderful Years Under Klaus /Báječná léta s Klausem.

Film version:
Film based on the novel premiered in 1997; produced by Space Films, screenplay by Jan Novák. Top ten in box office receipts in the Czech Republic for the year 1997. Winner of the Viewer's Prize at the 1997 Egyptian Film Festival held in Alexandria.

Dramatisation for the stage:
Firstly adapted into a theatre play by the Brno company Husa na provázku, premiered in Bmo in 1996; so far has had seven sold-out seasons in Brno and many sold-out guest performances in Prague. In the course of years, more theatre adaptations by other theatres followed.


Reviews

"Viewegh's prose is outstandingly refreshing reading, reacting to the world of recent Czech history with an appealing and sometimes bizarre charm, caricatured noblesse and a lot of wit. The depictions of historical tragedies as well as the numbness and stultifying routine of the everyday are sketched very lightly, showing the other side of this world's seemingly perfect and 'wonderful' atmosphere."  
Vladimír Novotný, MF Dnes

More books from the author