“I’ve been smoking since that happened in China” | Die Welt

PORTRAIT.

Marko Martin: „Seit das in China passiert ist, rauche ich“. Die Welt, 18. 1. 2022, p. 16.

Prague and Beijing have a close relationship. But here the Czech writer Radka Denemarková tells why she has been banned from entering China for life

The tram takes you back to the center, where the neon sign of the Hotel Alcron shines in Štepánská Street, which leads off from Wenceslas Square: Heinrich Böll stayed here in August 1968 at the invitation of the Czechoslovak Writers’ Union and witnessed the Soviet invasion. And after that he spent his life fighting for the cause of the local opposition and helped to make it known in the West. Just as Radka Denemarková does today, in her novel that has become an objection to dictatorship and forgetfulness. Havel instead of Karel Gott, and the verses of Böll’s friend Reiner Kunze, who left the GDR in 1977, remain valid: “We always have a choice / be it not to bow to those / who took them from us.”

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Radka Denemarková: Stunden aus Blei. Novel. Translated from Czech by Eva Profousová. 880 pp, hardcover, EUR 32,90 (Verlag Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg)

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Photo by Filip Noubel