My Crazy Century by Ivan Klima & Craig Cravens

78%

5 Critic Reviews

Klima gives us a child’s-eye picture, heartbreakingly simple and naïve, of these wartime experiences: the camp barracks; the line-ups for food and water; the gray-haired schoolteacher who began to give classes, then disappeared; his playmates, who disappeared...
-NY Times

Synopsis

In his intimate autobiography, spanning six decades that included war, totalitarianism, censorship, and the fight for democracy, acclaimed Czech writer Ivan Klíma reflects back on his remarkable life and this critical period of twentieth-century history.

Klíma’s story begins in the 1930s on the outskirts of Prague where he grew up unaware of his concealed Jewish heritage. It came as a surprise when his family was transported to the Terezín concentration camp—and an even greater surprise when most of them survived. They returned home to a city in economic turmoil and falling into the grip of Communism. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Klíma discovered his love of literature and matured as a writer. But as the regime further encroached on daily life, arresting his father and censoring his work, Klíma recognized the party for what it was: a deplorable, colossal lie. The true nature of oppression became clear to him and many of his peers, among them Josef Škvorecký, Milan Kundera, and Václav Havel. From the brief hope of freedom during the Prague Spring of 1968 to Charter 77 and the eventual collapse of the regime in 1989’s Velvet Revolution, Klíma’s revelatory account provides a profoundly rich personal and national history.
 

About Ivan Klima & Craig Cravens

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Ivan Klima was born in Prague in 1931. He is the award-winning author of over 20 novels, including Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light, No Saints or Angels, The Ultimate Intimacy, and Lovers for a Day?all New York Times Notable Books of the Year.Craig Cravens (translator) has taught Czech language and culture for over 10 years; he is currently a senior lecturer at Indiana State University. He has a PhD in Slavic languages and literature from Princeton University and a BA from Amherst College in Russian Literature.
 
Published November 4, 2013 by Grove Press. 546 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for My Crazy Century
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Oct 20 2013

A fitting capstone to a distinguished literary life and an exposition of one of the main flaws of communism—that “the betrayal of intelligence leads to the barbarization of everyone.”

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Paul Berman on Dec 13 2013

Klima gives us a child’s-eye picture, heartbreakingly simple and naïve, of these wartime experiences: the camp barracks; the line-ups for food and water; the gray-haired schoolteacher who began to give classes, then disappeared; his playmates, who disappeared...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Sansom on May 17 2014

Klíma has never been one for account-settling and acerbity and My Crazy Century is as interesting for its ruminative account of his emotional and personal turmoils as it is for its chronicling of postwar Czech history...The tone throughout is absolutely measured and balanced – until the end.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Nov 04 2013

My Crazy Century is a wonderful introduction to Czech literature and the comic genius of Ivan Klíma. It is a personal indictment of the empty rhetoric employed by both Nazi and Communist ideologies.

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Paul Hollander on Feb 05 2014

A sense of humor, effortless integrity and sense of decency are communicated throughout the volume. Perhaps the most remarkable is the insight that enabled Mr. Klima to survive spiritually under dire conditions...

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Reader Rating for My Crazy Century
82%

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