Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

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Death and Forgiveness by Jindra Ticha (April 2015)

Two worlds collide.

Anna has flown from New Zealand to her native Prague to nurse her dying mother.  The night after the funeral she receives a phone call with the news that her husband Jan has committed suicide in faraway Dunedin.

Why has Jan decided to end his life?  As Anna grapples with her grief in post-communist Prague, her story is interwoven with the tale of the family's fortunes on the long voyage taking them to New Zealand 20 years previously.

Fleeing the violent takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Anna and Jan found themselves in a strange new country with unfamiliar values.  This had an unexpected consequence.  Instead of terminating an unwanted pregnancy, Anna decided to give birth to Marie - a daughter who would go on to claim the lion's share of Jan's affection.

A subtle and affecting story of change and rebirth, Death and Forgiveness shows how exile alters the pattern of a life, with after-effects that reverberate for decades.

In 2009 a major Czech television network made a documentary devoted to Jindra Ticha's life and work.  She is one of only a handful of writers whose work has been recognised in this way.  And in 2012 Czech radio and television asked the public to select, out of two million Czechs living in exile, twenty of the most influential personalities.  Jindra Ticha gained eleventh place on this list.

The author of 18 published novels in her native Czech Republic, this is her first novel in English.



 
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