Kundera y sus lectores checos
Ayer se entregó, en ausencia, el Premio Nacional de Literatura de República Checa a Milan Kundera. Dicen que se excusó por motivos de salud. Como saben, recién hace unos meses se tradujo al checo La insoportable levedad del ser, libro que se había leído dramáticamente en copias piratas y ahora es un éxito de ventas. La fórmula Amor/Odio entre Kundera y su país se repite de ida y vuelta: sus lectores checos también aman/odian al escritor. La nota es de Katerina Zachovalova:
Dice la nota: "Since then the book's three distributors have sold nearly 35,000 copies, a feat for a classic novel on the small Czech market. They estimate that at least 5,000 more have been sold directly by Kundera's tight-lipped publisher. Pavel said he bought the novel and gave its nicely-bound pirate copy to his daughter. But his anger has not gone away. "I would give him a consolation prize for one book," he scoffed. Readers are still waiting for Czech versions of Kundera's French- penned novels La Lenteur (Slowness), L'Identite (Identity) and L'Ignorance (Ignorance). Fans like Pavel turn to pirate translations on the internet. Two older novels written in Czech - Life Is Elsewhere and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - were published in exile by Toronto-based 68 Publishers but have yet to come out in the Czech Republic. "Having to copy books today is way worse than during communism," Pavel said angrily. "Back then we had to transcribe them because communists did not like Kundera. Now we have to because Kundera does not like us."
The laureate, residing in France since 1975, is perhaps the best- known - but by no means the only - Czech communist-era emigre whose comeback to his former homeland has gone awry. He was welcomed by a wall of distrust and envy, while some of his readers were hurt by his switching from writing in Czech to penning his works in French. Kundera's friends hurry to his defence. "His relationship to the Czechs is being demonized," Srstka said. "I know him very well and he does not have any ambivalent feelings to the Czech Republic or Czechs." Kundera, known for his perfectionism, insists on revising his older Czech-written works for new publication and on translating his French-penned novels to Czech himself, his associates maintain. He has been translating his French-written essays in recent years, allowing them to come out in Czech. "It is a lot of work but he does it nonetheless," Srstka said. But not unlike rejected lovers, Kundera's Czech fans were immediately put off by the news that the master himself does not plan to attend Thursday's ceremony. "He is honestly ill," insisted Srstka, who agreed to accept the prize on Kundera's behalf. "Otherwise he would have arrived and accepted the award himself."