If you’re heading for Prague in the near future and want to get the atmosphere of the city/Czech Republic, try our #TenBooks set in selection.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera “A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals–while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being.” A novel of passion and politics, infidelity and ideas, encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, illuminating all aspects of human existence.
Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor – Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a 17-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil
The lost wife by Alyson Richman During the last moments of calm in pre-war Prague, Lenka, a young art student, falls in love with Josef. They marry – but soon, like so many others, they are torn apart by the currents of war. Now, decades later, an unexpected encounter in New York brings Lenka and Josef back together
The Prague fatale by Philip Kerr Crime. ‘The Prague Fatale’ is Bernie Gunther’s eighth outing. Set in Prague in 1942, it delivers all the fast-paced and quick-witted action that we have come to expect from Philip Kerr. It is an outstanding thriller by a writer at the top of his game.
The Prague cemetery by Umberto Eco Thriller. 19th-century Europe, from Turin to Prague to Paris, abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate black masses at night,
HHhH by Laurent Binet Prague, in 1942. Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a mission to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich – chief of the Nazi secret services, ‘the hangman of Prague’, ‘the blond beast’, and ‘the most dangerous man in the Third Reich’
Far to go by Alison Pick Pavel and Anneliese Bauer are affluent, secular Jews, whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of the German forces in Czechoslovakia. The Bauers flee to Prague with their 6-year-old son, Pepik, and his beloved nanny, Marta. When the family try to flee without her to Paris, Marta betrays them to her Nazi boyfriend
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka – The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature. The cause of Samsa’s transformation is never revealed, and Kafka himself never gave an explanation. The rest of Kafka’s novella deals with Gregor’s attempts to adjust to his new condition as he deals with being burdensome to his parents and sister, who are repulsed by the horrible, verminous creature Gregor has become
The good soldier Schweik Jaroslav By Hašek The classic Czech novel, showing up the ridiculousness of war, military discipline, etc. during World War I in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
The visible world by Mark Slouka A story about memory and concealed histories, and about the way that the most fiercely-held secrets of the past eventually force their way to the surface