Mariusz Szczygiel: Gottland – How Czechs live without God

The book Gottland evoked great interest. But also questions; is the Polish writer able to write about Czechs? Can he tell anything about us we don’t know? Also, there came troubles, Karel Gott Museum Gottland doesn’t like the book carries the same name.

Gottland Museum may sue you to change the name of the book. Would you go to a court to defend it?

Szczygiel-mariusz “A writer at a court? I would love to! It’s like Franz Kafka’s spirit floats above my book.”

Did the name offended anyone else?

I don’t know about it. When I was in Gottalnd, I saw many times people aged 60-90 there and I had the feeling, from how they couldn’t wait to get in, as if they were to go to heaven. Inside, people have a feeling of solidarity, the one of people who survived communism together with Gott. Like if they were looking for balance Karel Gott sung about – that life is good, we are good, our past is good…

Do you think Gott can be a substitute for God?

“No. But he provides religious dimension, as a religion does.”

How do the Poles see Czechs?

Czechs say they cure tragedy by laughter. That seems outward for us. I published a book about regular Czechs, who don’t believe in god. Czechs are regarded as the least religious nation of Europe. Completely exotic for us! Reactions on this text, depicting how the life is without God, got over my expectations; I got more than 500 letters! Some positive – “I wonder on Czechs, who live their lives in harmony with ethics, even without religion.” or negative, like those on a hospice in Ostrava, where people have no wish for divine services – for some Poles life without God equals lack of morale.

How Czechs and Poles differ in viewpoint on world events?

“We have more definite answers. Catholicism ables us to judge easily. When the famous Sister Lucie from Fatima died, Polish press wrote: “…Sister Lucie talked to Virgin Mary many times…” but Czech Press wrote: “… Sister Mary is said to have talked to Maria many times..” the Czech Republic is a country of doubts, which I personally like (laughter).”

Source: MF Dnes, Ludek Navara

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  1. Nikolet said, Mar 19, 10:03 PM #

    Nice site!

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