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Seven Days to the Funeral

Seven Days to the Funeral

Rozner, Ján

subjects: fiction, Czech studies, biographies and memoirs
series: Modern Slovak Classics

paperback, 488 pp., 1. edition
translation: Sherwood, Julia - Sherwood, Peter
published: february 2024
ISBN: 978-80-246-5633-5
recommended price: 490 czk



Seven Days to the Funeral is the fictionalised memoir of Ján Rozner, a leading Slovak journalist, critic, dramaturg, and translator. Rozner and his wife Zora Jesenská were champions of the Prague Spring and were blacklisted after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. When Jesenská died in 1972, her funeral became a political event and attendees faced recriminations.

A painstaking account of the week after his wife’s death, Seven Days to the Funeral is a historical record of the devastating impact of the period after the invasion. Rozner wrote with brutal honesty not only about himself, his emotions and past experience but about key figures in Slovak culture, providing a fascinating cultural history of Slovakia from 1945 to 1972. It is also a moving love story of an unlikely couple. When this compelling work of autofiction was posthumously published in 2009 it catapulted the author, who had died in exile and been almost forgotten in Slovakia, to posthumous literary fame.


Julia Sherwood reads from Ján Rozner's Seven Days to the Funeral on Translators Aloud YouTube channel. The video is available here.

He was also the ideal observer because he was an outsider. […] But being an outsider inevitably affected his personality: “There must have been some flaw in him, something that made him so withdrawn, buttoned up, unable to break the glass wall between himself and others,” he says about himself. That glass wall gave him the ideal window on Slovak society – and on himself. One of the fascinating aspects of Seven Days to the Funeral is that it is an autobiography written in the third person and in the form of a novel – but, unlike its contemporary literary cousin, autofiction, Rozner was scrupulous about telling it the way it truly was.
Siegfried Mortkowitz (Transitions magazine, 24. 4. 2024)

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