By Mariusz Szczygiel
Winner of the Europe ebook Prize
One of Europe's so much preeminent investigative reporters travels to the Czech Republic--the Czech half the previous Czechoslovakia, the land that introduced us Kafka--to discover the surreal fictions and the intense fact of its 20th century.
For instance, there's the tale of the small businessman who followed Henry Ford's principles on productiveness to create the world's biggest shoe company--and employed modernist giants equivalent to Le Corbusier to layout his corporation cities (which have been additionally the birthplaces of Ivana Trump and Tom Stoppard).
Or the tale of Kafka's niece, who loaned her identify to writers blacklisted below the Communist regime so that they may possibly continue publishing.
Or the tale of the singer Karel Gott, winner of the country's most sensible Male Vocalist Award thirty-six years in a row, whose summer time domestic, Gottland, is the Czech Dollywood.
Based on meticulous learn and hundreds and hundreds of interviews with every body from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to bland electorate, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient humans dwelling via tough and sometimes extraordinary times--equally humorous, irritating, stirring and absurd . . . in a note, Kafkaesque.