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Program

27 Mar 2007 00:00 - 00:00

European Voices 2007: Hana Androníková

Hana Andronikova, one of the best known younger Czech writer will read from her acclaimed novel Zvuk slunecnich hodin (Sound of the Sundial) in the third series reflecting on the legacies of European history in the work of contemporary and, in particular, Jewish writers. Followed by discussion chaired by Matthew Reisz, editor of the Jewish Quarterly.

 

'It just comes. I started to write about something else, and then all of a sudden there was this topic. There was this family, and it just grew in my head, and I just had to write about it.' 

                      Hana Andronikova about her book

 

For an interview with Hana Andronikova click here

 

Sound of the Sundial, a twentieth-century epic moving in time and place from Zlín to India, the United States, and Auschwitz, has won several prestigious literary awards. It begins in present-day Colorado with an accidental meeting of two Czech emigrants and reveals a stirring story, at the centre of which is the fatal love of Thomas Keppler and his Jewish wife, Raquel, seen through the eyes of their little son, Daniel. Daniel spends his childhood in India surrounded by colourful extremes, myths, and fairy tales. In 1938 the family returns to Europe. With the occupation of Czechoslovakia and, subsequently, Raquel's deportation to the Terezin ghetto, Daniel's world of harmony and security vanishes forever.

 

 

***

 

In December 1938 Bata launched a new kind of waterproof shoe on the Indian market. Shop windows displayed metal bowls of water with shoes bobbing in them. "In wet and dry." It was an immediate hit; fifteen annas a pair.

   In the middle of January my dog, Amon, died. Father said he'd reached that age. I cried a lot; he'd been in the family since before I was born. I missed him. In February 1939 Aunt Regina wrote a letter that changed our life ...

 

 ... "Raquel, try to understand. We can't go back."

"My mother is dying."

"I know. I know it's hard, but we can't go back now."

"I have to go back. I owe it to her."

"Raquel-"

"I haven't seen her since you and I have been together."

His throat tightened.

"There's going to be a war. It's-suicide."

"I have to go home."

He couldn't swallow, his voice failing him. He was sticking his leg out to stop a moving train.

 "Raquel-"

"If you won't come with me, I'm going alone."

"You can't do that."

"I will!"

 She shot out of her chair and slammed the door behind her.

 

Stifled by the muggy heat, he remained sitting in the garden till dusk. The evening chant of the parched earth. Leaves of banyan trees, like naked little hearts with sharp tips, ready to defend their own vulnerability. Cicadas bringing darkness and clamour. Everything changed.

 

I made my farewells. India.  Kavita. Her embraces, songs, and incantations. The people with countless stories and gods. A small pack on my back, I became a pilgrim against the flow of time.

 

***

 

The event is supported by Austrian Cultural Forum, Czech Centre, Goethe Institut and London Jewish Cultural Centre

 

Tickets: £8 (£5 conc); £20 for 3 events (£12 conc)

www.ljcc.org.uk

Info: 0208457 5000, events@ljcc.org.uk

Venue:

30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom

Date

27 Mar 2007 00:00 - 00:00

Organizer:

European Voices


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