MICHAL VIEWEGH’s short and witty novel Bringing Up Girls in Bohemia is the story of Beata Kralova and her not-so-young tutor. Beata is a 20-year-old drop-out and daughter of Denis Kral (i.e., King), a Czech “new millionaire” of dubious connections. Beata embraces lover after lover as well as causes new to Eastern Europe: the environment, animal rights, feminism, consumerism, new-age religion.
This satirical look at Prague today by the best of the new Czech writers entertains with a parade of unnforgettable characters,the new mafiosi and their ex-secret police bodyguards, the expatriate Americans, and many an extraordinary Czech, from a cremation enthusiast to a hopelessly naïve sex-education teacher.
The novel is also a serious exploration of the role of the writer in post-communist Central Europe. The narrator, himself a writer and teacher who is in love with Beata, must portray her fate in terms that explain her nihilism without losing faith in his own positive craft of story- telling. His hard-won credo as artist is to be an entertainer in a world of newly felt cruelty and suffering.