The plot of The Curtain revolves around an adventurous journey into the Stalin era. Do you think we, as a society, would need such an experience?
We would need it like salt. People might realize that history keeps repeating itself, only the scenery is a bit different. Every time generations of people who still remember something die, we are forced to relive all that is abominable.
Now, after years, I reread Kundera’s Joke, from which I quote the famous ironic text on the postcard: Optimism is the opium of humanity, a sane mind stinks of nonsense, long live Trotsky! Then there was and still is no room for jokes. Try reading it again, Kundera’s novel is more current today than it was in the 1960s when it was first published. And I’m sad, it’s cold. No one valued the well-being we had because we took it for granted.
Of course, today we are heading for destruction. After all, even the rhetoric, headlines, pledges and awareness of today’s hot spot are so close to the 50s that a lot of people would be there. All that’s missing is the gallows, but don’t worry, it will come.
How do you think it turns out there’s no room for jokes today? After all, your sometimes dark and politically incorrect book attracts media attention during Big Book Thursday…
I don’t think humor is banned by anyone, it seems to me rather, and I’d like to be wrong that the new generation is losing its sense of humor a bit. She is too serious and sad. The role of the victim is probably quite comfortable…
I don’t know if my book is dark humor, it should be exciting, but the colleague who read it was still laughing. So I probably put some humor in there, maybe unintentionally. I guess I can’t help it.
The protagonist of your book is an entrepreneur who wants to cure his daughter of leftism. Does it really make sense of the division between right and left today, in these times of global challenges?
The image of my hero is not a businessman who cares about something, but a man who, in the early 1990s, at a time of true freedom, founded a software company on the dormitory , which in twenty years will become a billionaire giant that financial groups and investors are fighting for. He will create great companies out of nothing. But her daughter is fighting capitalism, she naively wants to establish a new order. She wants to take it so she can give it.
It is division. Some build and thus give work, money and values, others think that everyone has a right to everything and that wealth should be shared. Have you noticed that this is just a pun? It was nationalized in the 1950s, and now the new Communists dream of sharing the wealth. I don’t care what anyone calls it, it’s the same to me.
Today I’m not really afraid of the old left, of Vojtěch Filip, who is digging in his garden soil somewhere in Jindřichův Hradec and has a polished bust of Lenin at home, but new communists who are not don’t call that and have their mouths full of freedom and democracy. And in taking it, I’m not just talking about ownership. I understand that the left wants to take our whole world away from us, both thought and value, and reshape it according to itself and its twisted rules. For me, the global challenges, as you call them, are just a derivative of the struggle for a better future under the banner of the party, the government and the USSR.
Rideau is above all a thriller. What is your relationship to the so-called genre, it seems low, literature?
I like adventure books. I read science fiction, I like Le Carré or Forsyth spy novels, I like magic realists Salman Rushdie, Petr Stančík or the genius Michal Ajvaz. Yesterday I read the excellent Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier, who received the Goncourt prize for the book.
But science fiction should not be limited to bad robots. Did you know that Vladimir Nabokov, for example, wrote a book set in an alternate Earth called AntiTerra, where Russian nobility controls the United States in the alternate reality of the 1960s? The book is called Ada or Žár and it is a great adventure. And also the very high literature, as well as the books of the aforementioned authors, perhaps no one can doubt.
The Curtain should also be created as a TV mini-series, according to your first book Throw a Dead Swan, you co-created The Doom of the Dejvice Theater series. Is there an essential difference between writing literature and writing screenplays for television?
It’s a big difference. You’re writing the book for yourself, with the other weird self inside you, you’re only admitting it to yourself. And when you burn, that’s your problem. You write the script for someone, for the public, for the director, for the producer, who has to raise funds for it. You are still in the process of rewriting the script, according to the dramaturgical and staging notes, it’s a tough job that I don’t know if I will ever master it completely. And when you burn, either it goes wrong or, in the worst case, someone loses a lot of money.
Literature is much freer. But again, hardly anyone cares. There are very few fools among us who still buy books. I mean men, and I probably write more for men. The books are purchased primarily by women who generally want to read about relationships, love, or tragedy. I confess that I added ten love covers and twenty relationship covers to the Top. But I think before he shoots he might want to break it down, improve it, get rid of the excess lard.