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Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  318 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book

Pavel is a middle-aged man, a once-promising, award-winning documentary filmmaker, who is forced to survive by working as a cameraman for the state-run television station under Czechoslovakia's repressive regime. He dreams of one day making a film—a searing portrait of his times—that the authorities woul
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 15th 1996 by Picador (first published January 1st 1993)
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So, what do you do, Klíma, Brink, Solzhenitsyn? What do you you when The Wall comes down; when Mandela goes free; when they close the Gulag? What happens to your poetry, your anger, when there are no statues to topple?

'What are you thinking?' she asks.
'That you're near.'
'What is nearness?'
'There may be a definition of it, but I don't know what it is.'
'Try saying what comes into your mind.'
'I don't usually say what comes into my mind.'
'Say it now.'
'Alina, it's not easy for me to be intimate with
Dec 19, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
European Communism came to a fairly abrupt end around 1990. It was a heady time, but it was no stepping from the darkness into the light, just like that. There were steps forward, and retrograde steps as well. As a Hungarian, I recognize that the whole experience was a sword that cut both ways.

Of all the Eastern European writers, the one who comes closest to the truth is the Czech novelist Ivan Klíma:
Recently he'd begun to think that without even leaving the country he'd become an alien. It wasn
Jun 04, 2013 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing easier than persuading yourself you could really do something if you tried, as long as you know that they'll never give you the chance. The system never allowed you to win, and so it saved you from defeat as well.
A quietly devastating work, relentlessly bleak and uncompromising.
Feb 28, 2010 Mohsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
کتاب درست مال احوالات همین روزهای من بود. دو کتابی که در این چند وقت از ایوان کلیما خواندم را بیش از هر نوشته ی دیگری به ذهنیات خودم درباره ی ماوقع این چند ماه نزدیک دیدم. روزگار تاریکی بر یک ملت جاری است. اما امیدی هم به روشنایی نیست. تاریکی و روشنایی در زندگی مردم است، نه چیزی بیرون از آن که بتوان انتظارش را کشید.
Stephen Durrant
Sep 21, 2008 Stephen Durrant rated it liked it
The setting of the Czech writer Ivan Klima's novel is the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989. His hero, Pavel, has adapted ("sold out"?) to the Party after an unsuccessful attempt to flee the country. A filmmaker, he is reduced to making propaganda films. He dreams of producing a film of his failed flight, albeit rather more dramatic and heroic than the actual event, but at the end of the novel, after the revolution takes place, he takes a job making erotic films. Pavel is lost. Is he morally weak? The ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Sonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
داستان از افکار مردی با نام پاول در طی انقلابی که در کشورش صورت می گیرد تشکیل شده . پاول در طی داستان سوالهایی در مورد مسایل مختلفی از جمله آزادی ،عدالت ،پیروزی ،مرگ و غیره مطرح می کند و براساس تجریاتش به آنها پاسخ می دهد . پاول عکاس و فیلمبرداری است که در دوران سانسور در کشورش با علاقه به فعالیت می پرداخت اما با تغییر حکومت او نیز علیرغم آزادی که برای فعالیت دارد علاقه ای به فعالیت های قبلی ندارد و تمام این تغییرات را چیزی سطحی می داند که در واقع تاثیری در میزان رفاه و رضایت مردم نداشته است .او ...more
Spoiler alert! I have a bit mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is very interesting as an evocation of the great upheavals in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Wall in 1989 (although nowhere names and countries are explicitly named); the main character, cameraman Pavel, after a failed escape attempt in his youth, has adapted to the old regime and, like all his countrymen, meekly follows the official line, even though he knows he’s confirming the regime of lies; Pavel is clingi ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Amir rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
کلیما احتمالن مشاهدهگر خوبی است؛ این را از بعضی موقعیتهای توصیف شده در کتاب میتوان فهمید، اما قصهگو نیست. یک چیز را تعریف میکند، تمام میشود، حالا بعدی را تعریف میکند، فرمی هم در کار نیست. میتوان مقایسه کرد با کوندرا که علیرغم اینکه کتابهایش فرم قطعهنویسی دارند عمیقن داستاناند؛ کوندرا قصهگوست، کلیما نیست. ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oct 13, 2013 Ahmad Sharabiani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
زندگی یک عالم چیز است، تل عظیم لباس، تیوب، چرخ گوشت، آسیاب قهوه است. انبوه سیم، لامپ، آینه، دوربین، قیچی، و ماشین آب پاش هم هست. از متن کتاب ص 17
Apr 29, 2013 Bradley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class
"Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light" was a book that took me a long time to read and required a lot of thought when I was reading it. The main character, Pavel, is by far one of the most depressing people I have ever encountered, and his story is just so frustrating. His life does not even seem that tragic; he is just one of those people who leads a melancholy life, and it is frustrating because the author just does not tell you why. The plot is intricate. There appear to be two separat ...more
Sep 27, 2010 Mojdeh rated it really liked it
به تمام و کمال زندگی کردن یعنی:نزدیک بودن به آدمی که عاشقش هستی
واگر عاشق کسی نباشی؟
باید دنبالش بگردی
Nov 04, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-books
STALIN still has much to answer for. Early in Ivan Klima's "Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light" the protagonist, Pavel, spends a night in the apartment of his lover, Eva. The sleeping arrangements are mentioned in passing: a sofa bed is unfolded in the living room for Eva's son, Robin. Pavel and Eva have the bedroom. A third room is "where the former husband sometimes lived in silence."

It's a domestic setup that strikes a Westerner as weird. But as anyone familiar with Eastern Europe wi
Hossain Razavi
Feb 21, 2013 Hossain Razavi rated it really liked it
Ok so this is how it have a political novel, you have a romantic adventure but most importantly you got questions! what is life? what is death? what is success? what is a historical chance? all answered by the author(maybe not in the form of a direct answer). but then you really ask yourself: really? does it mean that? is it just that?
this is a must-read book for all the young enlightened people of my country! we are now forced deal with a dictatorship, on some levels similar to the g
Apr 20, 2011 Aarmin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
جدا از مناسبت این کتاب با رژیم توتالیتری ما و شرایط زندگی زیر سایه و سلطه ی اون:
سوالهای اساسی تری از زبان قهرمان به نمایش گذاشته میشه. آیا واقعن میشه در یک جامعه توتالیتری از اخلاق شکل گرفته در این جامعه راه گریزی پیدا کرد؟ آیا زندگی در یک جامعه دموکراتیک کاملن اخلاقیه و در جامعه دیکتاتوری بر عکس اون ؟ آیا سختیها در یک جامعه دیکتاتوری به زندگی معنای بیشتری میبخشند و یا اون رو تهی میکنن؟ همکاری صنفی با رژیم توتالیتر اخلاقیه؟ آیا عشق و حضور اون رو میشه درک کرد؟ آیا خاطره برای انسان جامعه ی دیکتاتو
کتاب خوبیه، ارزش چندبار خوندن رو داره، جزء کتب ویزه من محسوب میشه

یک داستان و ایده گیرا، روایت خوب و ترجمه مناسب
البته برای درک عمق داستان باید فضاش رو حس کرده باشی و گرایشات سیاسی داشته باشی.
فضای کسی که از حکومت متنفره، اما مجبوره به خاطر شغلش خواسته های حکومت رو اجرا کنه
فارغ از بحث سیاسی، ماجرای درام هم داره که به نظرم خوب پرداخت شده
البته بخش های کوچکی از کتاب هست که ممکنه به دل نشینه
Okhtay A
Jan 04, 2016 Okhtay A rated it really liked it
Shelves: czech-literature
I can't stop comparing this book with current situation in my country. It is full of beautiful passages in the shape of dialogues, monologues or just simple thoughts of the main character. It gives you a full feeling of living in the last years, or even last days of a dying totalitarian regime.
Mar 05, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
"We all lived in this country. Given the conditions that existed here, every one of us came out of it scarred in some way. And who can establish a borderline between guilt and innocence, when that borderline runs somewhere right down the middle of each and every person?"
Feb 01, 2016 Beverly rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001-bymrbyd
I enjoyed reading this book but once again this is a story that talks about political upheaval. This takes place in Czechoslovakia during what they called the Velvet Revolution. Our main character Pavel Fukova is a cameraman for a state run television station and although he wants to do great reporting and bring "wrongs" to the attention of the people, the state will not condone this and pretty much makes him "dumb down" everything that he tries to report on. As we follow Pavel through this hist ...more
Ivan Klima's book "Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light" was a really interesting look at the fallout from the fall of the Communist regime in Prague.

Set in the days before and after the Velvet Revolution, its narrator, Pavel, is going through a midlife crisis of sorts. He lives in a world where there are few choices and then too many-- either way he is completely stuck and unsure of where he is going.

Pavel has a rich fantasy life that really bleeds into the story... it was difficult to
Zeynab Babaxani
Nov 04, 2012 Zeynab Babaxani rated it really liked it
سوالاتی که توی کتاب مطرح شده بود رو خیلی دوست تر می داشتم
مکث ها عاالی بودند
Mar 30, 2015 Jdu FFH rated it liked it
Shelves: polentsjechenslo
Just as Skvorecky's Cowards, this is a novel which is set during a chaotic period of change in 20th century Czech history. During this period, history is redrawn, winners become losers waiting for the dark and losers become winners, waiting for the light.
It is sometimes in 2015 to read novels from Central European countries that have been occupied by Soviet forces between 1945 and 1990, if they play with words and censorship too much. It all can feel a little bit dated, as if the writers are cla
Kathryn Minturn
Nov 29, 2014 Kathryn Minturn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too Many Questions

In my opinion, I believe Pavel was questing for quest. His quest to make a film was the writer's tool for expressing his own views. All of the female characters were foils who asked a lot of questions so Pavel could express his thoughts out loud instead of in his head. The characters seemed soulless and two dimensional. The only complete character was his mother. But maybe all of this was intentional and in the that case the author succeeded.
Aug 21, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
This book is written beautifully-- kudos to both the writer and the translator, for that. At first I didn't care for the narrative structure; there are a lot of strings that the author is trying to pull together, but somehow in the second half of the book it starts to knit together well. Tonally, the story is sad, and the author poses a lot of open-ended, unanswerable questions. There's definitely a healthy dose of angst, brought about by the fact that every time the characters want something, i ...more
Jun 19, 2016 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What is it with Czech authors, so far I’ve disliked or been totally indifferent to their books. Is it the translation or is their experience of communism too insular for me to relate to? Anyway Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light falls into the indifferent category. As such I read the book and didn’t mind it but it did not make me fall out of my chair in amazement or anything like that.

Pavel is a cameraman who has ventured into documentaries, however, since this is 1989 Prague censorship
Aug 07, 2013 Azra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

«غریبهها به آنها تنقلات تعارف میکردند، و آنها صمیمیت خاصی را احساس کردند که از نومیدی آن لحظه بالایشان میکشید. آن شب، قدمزنان او را به خانهاش رساندند. او در خوابگاه محوطه بیمارستانی که در آن کار میکرد زندگی میکرد. هردوشان او را بوسیدند و با او خداحافظی کردند. آن بوسه هیچ معنایی نداشت. با این همه، آن بوسه و خود او به یادش ماندند. از قیافه و شخصیت او خوشش میآمد. در رفتارش صداقت مهربانانهای بود، اما در زیر آن، اعماق پنهان نفوذناپذیری را احساس کرد که به طرف او جلبش میکردند.
آنها مدتی با هم بیرون میر
Dec 05, 2014 Rishabhahm rated it really liked it
An enigmatic and depressing book. Pavel/Mr Fuka is one of the most depressing characters I have read in a novel. Though the book is very poetic and insightful. I came to know that the author Ivan Klima has spend some time in a concentration camp during the World War-2 and probably that's why the author draws such a grim picture of life.
منى كريم
May 22, 2015 منى كريم rated it it was ok
this novel had a promising beginning but then it was disappointing. At some point he tried to enact the voice of the dictator, very boring. most of the novel is just telling the story of its protagonist, literally "telling."
Sep 23, 2009 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think this book would have garnered a higher rating had I read it earlier on on the grand book mission. It's the take of a film maker on the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic - the persecution of the past, the struggle to cope with the freedoms of the future. But more than that, it's the story of yet another discontent artistic man, approaching middle age and struggling to see the meaning of his life, and where he fits in to modern society. Interwoven are the tales of criminals, factory ...more
Raheleh pourazar
Dec 20, 2015 Raheleh pourazar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
به هر صورت در اینجا مرز میان بودن و نبودن مبهم شده بود. هر جا که این اتفاق می افتد، از مرزهای دیگر نیز راحت تر می توان عبور کرد. مرز نادرستی، حرص، ریاکاری، بی شرمی ....
Jan 29, 2015 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I felt my interest cycle a bit as I read through. It started off very interesting, I lost the plot a bit and then it came back with a resurgence toward the end. My main problem with it was it focused an a middle aged man who drank too much couldn't commit to any relationship and had lots of insecurity problems. So, pretty standard boring fare really...

2 1/2 stars
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  • Margot en de engelen
  • The Triple Mirror of the Self
  • The Deadbeats
  • Luka
  • City Sister Silver
  • Pallieter
  • Pavel's Letters
  • The Case Worker
  • Geur der droefenis
  • The Commandant
  • Una comedia ligera
  • Cataract
  • The First Garden
  • Retreat Without Song
  • The New World
  • Het verboden rijk
  • Memories of Rain
  • Leaden Wings
Ivan Klíma (born 14 September 1931, Prague, born as Ivan Kauders) is a Czech novelist and playwright. He has received the Magnesia Litera Award and the Franz Kafka Prize, among other honors.

Klíma's early childhood in Prague was happy and uneventful, but this all changed with the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, after the Munich Agreement. He had been unaware that both his parents had Jew
More about Ivan Klíma...

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“A picture was a motionless record of motion. An arrested representation of life. A picture was the kiss of death pretending to possess immutability.” 2 likes
“Out of the fog that shrouded the countryside, softening the outlines of people and things, demonstrators emerged, flags waved and speakers rose spontaneously to address spontaneous gatherings. Mostly they were people who had not been allowed to speak for years. They clambered on to piles of rock, balanced on the rims of fountains and on pedestals of statues whose removal they demanded, just as they demanded the removal of those who had bowed down before these statues. They spun visions of how everyone's life, including Pavel's own, would quickly be transformed and rise above the poverty in which it had for so long been mired. Others, who preferred actions to words, climbed onto rooftops to remove the snow-covered symbols of yesterday's power. They pulled down street signs and fastened in their place new plaques scrawled with names that until recently had been unmentionable, and they sometimes gathered threateningly under the windows of abandoned Party secretariats, ready to break in and begin, or rather complete, the purging. In every face he saw a kind of ecstasy that looked almost sexual.” 1 likes
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