Fall 1990 • Vol. XII No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1990 |

Return to Czechoslovakia: Snapshots of a Revolution

I am writing this article in the sixth week of the cultural revolution of Czechoslovakia. The country is lighter, freer, and happier than during any of the last forty years. The spoiled air has a new fragrance. The city of Prague looks like a beautiful, happy woman. There are more people on the streets during an hour than in the entire year before the revolution. The gray color of these people has become brighter, more colorful; indifferent, sad faces are smiling. People, condemned to tyranny for forty years, feel free. People who were numb while walking the pavements, are talking to each other. The young, the old, everybody. People, atomized into the deepest privacy for years, have come out of themselves and are again a community, feeling the wonderful solidarity of freedom and shared victory. Almost. But optimism is no longer the quality of a few. The country has changed more profoundly in six weeks than in the terrible, sad, devastating, four decades preceding those weeks

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Arnošt Lustig, novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter, left Prague during the Soviet invasion of 1968 and now teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. His novels include Dita Saxova, The Unloved: From the Diary of Perla S., and A Prayer for Katerina Horovitzova; his collections of short stories include Indecent Dreams, Diamonds of the Night, and Street of Lost Brothers. Among his films are Dita Saxova' and Diamonds of the Night. Almost all of Lustig's literary and film work explores the theme of the Holocaust and his experiences during the war. Arnošt Lustig's awards include a National Book Award nomination for A Prayer of Katerina Horovitzova, two Jewish National Book Awards, an Emmy for a television screenplay, and the Karel Capek Prize of the Czech Pen Club.

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