We have featured plenty of contemporary Czech novelists in this programme over the last decade, but we should spare a thought for their translators, patiently working at home alone, struggling at a craft every bit as challenging as alchemy. In Czech Books this week, David Vaughan talks to a translator who has done more than any other to bring the middle and younger generation of Czech novelists to English-speaking readers.
In 1952, when Ivan Margolius was five years old, his father Rudolf, a former deputy minister of foreign trade, was found guilty in the notorious Slansky show trials, surely one of the darkest chapters of the Communist era. Rudolf Margolius, who like Ivan's mother Heda had survived the Nazi death camps, was executed. Ivan Margolius left Czechoslovakia in 1966 and is now a successful architect in the UK. When I spoke to him recently, he recalled growing up in the shadow of his father's death.