Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima

By Ivan Klima

From an across the world acclaimed Czech author comes a clever, humane, and poignant novel, set in Prague earlier than the Velvet Revolution, whose perceptions approximately love, judgment of right and wrong, and betrayal lower to the bone of existence in either totalitarian and democratic societies. "A chilling tale from the underground."--The ny instances.

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Sample text

She believed that freedom should be limited by some kind of inner law, but then the conversation moved on to children and their upbringing. But I was concentrating less and less on what was being said and instead became aware of something different: the unspoken voice of the other woman. It seemed to me that it was addressing me in the expectation that I would hear it and understand it. The evening shadows were creeping into the room and it seemed to me that the remaining light was focused on her high forehead, which, oddly enough, resembled my wife’s.

My daughter was sitting at the table, rebelliously staring at the window, my wife was washing the dishes rather too noisily, and my son’s cassette player boomed out protest songs. I didn’t feel like asking the reason, but Lída at once flooded me with complaints about the children, who she said were untidy and lazy, and demanded that I do something about it. It was clear to me that whatever I might say she had already said to them and I was in no mood to engage in peacemaking. I went to my room and tried to work, but the flat (or I myself) was too full of disturbing noises.

But they had dreamed of leaving it, and so they had invented the garden of paradise, which had in it everything they yearned for but lacked in their lives, and they had dreamed up creatures similar to themselves but equipped with wings. But what in the past had only been dreamed of was now beginning to materialise, my father said, pointing to the sky. Angels did not exist, but people could now fly. There was no paradise for human souls to dwell in, but one day I would understand that it was more important for people to live well and happily here on earth.

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