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Prague In My Bones

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Jindra Tichy
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Jindra Tichý has a fascinating story to tell – one of exile and survival, of distance and painful longing. Czech born and bred, she was a lecturer in philosophy at Charles University in Prague when the country was invaded by Soviet troops in August 1968. In 1969 she was forced to flee her homeland with her young son Peter; they were on the last train to leave the country before the border was sealed. Joining her logician husband, Pavel, in England, she struggled to learn English, but slowly gained confidence and competence with the help of Jane Austin’s Emma. When Pavel was offered a job at Otago University in New Zealand, she found herself uprooted once again. After living in a communist society, Jindra found New Zealanders refreshingly honest, open and friendly, but she continued to grapple with the fact that in her homeland not only were all women expected to hold a full-time job – as well as take full responsibility for the household – here she was nothing but a full-time housewife. Determined to regain her professional status, she eventually became a lecturer at the university herself, and Dunedin has been her home ever since. After the Czech Velvet Revolution of 1989 Jindra was finally able to return to Prague, after twenty years in exile. Since then she has made annual trips to visit her beloved homeland and the remaining members of her family. In Prague in My Bones Jindra presents her great love – the beautiful city of Prague and its cultural legacy – to the reader. It not only gives a fascinating account of life from the inside under a repressive political regime, but depicts in a moving way the pain and confusion of banishment from home, family and friends into an exile removed from everything familiar. Jindra is the author of nineteen novels, including one in English and also published in NZ, and her short stories have been published in Czech literary journals. She is well known and loved in her home country: in 2012 she was voted number eleven on a list of the most influential personalities among the two million Czechs living abroad.