My Seven Lives: Jana Juráňová in Conversation with Agneša Kalinová

My Seven Lives: Jana Juráňová in Conversation with Agneša Kalinová (Hardback)

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 My Seven Lives: Jana Juráňová in Conversation with Agneša Kalinová
Purdue University Press
6.00" x 9.00"

Book Description

My Seven Lives is the English translation of the best-selling memoir of Slovak journalist Agneša Kalinová (1924–2014): Holocaust survivor, film critic, translator, and political prisoner. An oral history written with her colleague Jana Juráňová, My Seven Lives provides a window into Jewish history, the Holocaust, and the cultural evolution of Central and Eastern Europe. The conversational approach gives the book a relatable immediacy that vividly conveys the tone and temperament of Agneša, bringing out her lively personality and extraordinary ability to stay positive in the face of adversity.

Each chapter reflects a distinct period of Agneša’s long and tumultuous life. Her idyllic childhood gives way to the rise of Nazism and restrictions of the anti-Jewish legislation, which led to deportations and her escape to Hungary, where she found refuge in a Budapest convent. Surviving the Holocaust, she returned to Slovakia and married writer Ján Ladislav Kalina. They embraced communism, and Agneša began her career as a journalist and film critic and became involved in the Prague Spring, ending with the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Agneša and her husband lost their jobs and were imprisoned, which led to their decision to immigrate to West Germany. She found a new career as a political commentator for Radio Free Europe, and after decades of political oppression, Agneša lived to see the euphoric days of the Velvet Revolution and its freeing aftermath.  

My Seven Lives shows the impact of an often brutal twentieth century on the life of one remarkable individual. It’s a story of survival, perseverance, and ultimately triumph.  

About the Author(s):

Jana Juráňová cofounded the feminist educational and publication project ASPEKT, where she remains a coordinator and editor. She has translated over twenty books from English, including Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf, Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, and Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman. She is a playwright and author of children’s books and literary fiction. Her novel Naničhodnica (The Wretch) was published in 2020. She has been nominated three times for Slovakia’s most prestigious literary award, Anasoft Litera. For My Seven Lives both authors were awarded the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize in Prague. In 2018 Juráňová received a state prize for her literary activities and the promotion of human rights and democracy from the president of the Slovak Republic.

Agneša Kalinová (1924–2014) was a journalist and translator. Born into a Jewish family in Prešov in eastern Slovakia, she lost most of her extended family in the Holocaust while she survived by hiding in a convent in Budapest. After the war she embarked on a career as journalist and film critic, serving for many years as an editor with the cultural and political weekly Kultúrny život. As supporters of the Prague Spring, Agneša and her husband lost their jobs following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and were imprisoned in 1972. She later immigrated with her husband and daughter to West Germany, where she became a political commentator for Radio Free Europe. She died in Munich a few weeks after her ninetieth birthday.