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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

John Updike in Prague (Bech in Czech)

I don't know how I missed John Updike's visit to Prague in 1986 or his short story Bech in Czech. His visit to Prague occurred in April 1986, the same month I arrived. Maybe I missed him by a few days. I had heard Updike talk during a cultural relations visit to Addis Ababa in the early 1970s.


I had greatly enjoyed the two earlier Bech volumes, Bech: A Book and Bech is Back, but I wasn't aware of the third volume, Bech at Bay, with the superb story Bech in Czech. I've just obtained a copy.


It's as indispensable as Malcolm Bradbury's Rates of Exchange.

Here's a blog posting  from Bill Kiehl (January 2009), with a photo of Updike in Prague.

And a quote from Bech in Czech, attributed to a Czech translator:

"You see", he said..."there are layers" ..."There is inside and outside, and some just this side of outside have friends just on the inside, and so on".

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