My Crazy Century:
in conversation with RICHARD HOFFMAN
$5 tickets on sale now
Co-sponsored by PEN New England
This event includes a book signing
November 14, 2013
7:00 PM ET
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Book Store and PEN New England are pleased to welcome renowned Czech novelist and playwright IVAN KLÍMA for a discussion of his memoir, My Crazy Century, in conversation with Richard Hoffman, Senior Writer in Residence at Emerson College.
In his intimate autobiography, spanning six decades that included war, totalitarianism, censorship, and the fight for democracy, 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.
"My Crazy Century is the prizewinning memoir of a writer who, deprived of freedom for much of this life, never ceased to be free in his imagination, creativity, and art. Neither Nazi nor Communist rulers could rob Ivan Klíma of his amazing ability—and fierce determination—to distill drops of truth from the sea of experience. Klíma was a witness, and participant, in the most dramatic events in twentieth century Europe. This is his story, brilliantly, wittily and poignantly told." —Madeleine Albright
"The author relates [his story] with a mordant humor and a limpid prose that registers both the overt fear that repression engenders and the subtler moral corruptions it works in victims and perpetrators. . . . Klíma’s searching exploration of a warped era is rich in irony—and dogged hope." —Publishers Weekly
"A candid, illuminating memoir of a man who retained his humanity in inhumane times, and used the light of reason to resist an absurdist regime. Klíma’s account of living in the shadow of censorship and in the spotlight of Cold War events gives us intimate insight into the vicissitudes of literature in ‘the Other Europe,’ and the exceptional courage required of writers in repressive epochs to speak simple truths to capricious power." —Eva Hoffman
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Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes
As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and proceed along Brattle St. Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe and Alden & Harlow Restaurant, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.
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