Waiting For The Dark, Waiting For The Light | Granta

  • Published: 10/09/1998
  • ISBN: 9781862071018
  • Granta Books
  • 240 pages

Waiting For The Dark, Waiting For The Light

Ivan Klima

Translated by Paul Wilson

Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light describes life before, during and after the cataclysm of 1989, the so-called Velvet revolution. It is the story of Pavel, a middle-aged television cameraman working uneasily within the boundaries set by the regime, who dreams of one day making a film- an uncut portrait of his times- the authorities will never allow. But after the collapse of communism, Pavel finds he is unprepared for this new world of supposedly unlimited freedoms.

Although the book is about the Czech experience, it is of universal import. Klima has some searingly truthful things to say about the wretchedness of human mediocrity, but with its hint of surrealism and its wonderful black humour, it is immensely enjoyable.


This is a very good novel. Klima writes of uncertainly with authority, an authority all the greater because it does not pretend to offer answers.

Alan Massie, Scotsman

Klima's achievement lies in his human understanding of moral confusions and his sympathetic rendering of them, and especially in his ability to question while avoiding the polemical... an adroit, intelligent exploration of what happens when the impossible is won, only to be found wanting.

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

The Author

Ivan Klima was born in 1931 in Prague, where he now lives, and was editor of the journal of the Czech Writers’ Union during the Prague Spring. He is the author of many plays, stories and novels, including Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light, The Ultimate Intimacy and My Golden Trades, and a non-fiction book, The Spirit of Prague, all of which are published by Granta Books. His work, which is now published worldwide, was once banned in his own country.

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The Translator

Paul Wilson was born in 1960. He is the author of four previous novels, The Fall from Grace of Harry Angel, Days of Good Hope, Do White Whales Sing at the Edge of the World? and Noah, Noah. He lives in Darwen, Lancashire, and works in the field of learning disability.

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From the Same Author

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