When Václav Havel first entered Prague Castle after becoming president of Czechoslovakia in 1989, he and his team (“a group of friends from various branches of the arts”) found wires and concealed microphones everywhere, and a map revealing secret rooms. It was “an enchanted Kafkaesque castle” and, as he reveals in this candid memoir, his time there frequently struck him as absurd. What he most remembers from those heady, almost hysterical early days is that “we laughed a lot, though I can hardly remember what we laughed at or why”. Yet the laughter soon died away, and this is primarily a book about disillusionment.
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