Yesterday, Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Question of Bruno and Nowhere Man, graced the department with a reading and his cooperation in a question-and-answer session. I study dead men, K. H. Mácha, E. F. Burian, Vítěslav Nezval, Jan Mukařovský, Lermontov, Khodasevich, Fel'zen, and many more are all dead. Some have been dead for a long time. All have been dead since before I made my debut in this world. I spend my days surrounded by people whom I have reduced to a series of primary sources (poems, novels, plays, short stories, articles) and a series of memoirs, biographies, and studies. For me, Mácha is Máj, he is not the figure wandering about Sabina's questionable memoirs. I know that that's unfair, but I'm not really interested in the Czech national poet's personal attitudes toward women, his studies at the law faculty, or his home life. That's why sometimes it's nice to meet a living author who walks around, looks as bored as you do during the introduction to his reading, and has the good humour and sense to appreciate and like his readers. It's also nice when the author is a cheese-ball humanist just like you and brings his mom, who thinks his depiction of Bosnia is an idealized crock, to the reading. I could ramble on at length about the reading and Q&A, providing a blow-by-blow account of it, but instead I'm going to recommend that you do what I'm going to go do: go make something. Or you could read a book by Hemon. I would do that, but I don't have any at hand. -Zh.


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