Prague was once one of the most important cities in the world, when Emperor Charles IV, descendant of Charlemagne, ruled from there the entire Holy Roman Empire (1355 – 1378). Since then, it has inspired writers all over the world, and sparked their imaginations in order to create the most vivid literary works of all time.
From historical detail to accounts of the streets and corners of the capital of the Czech Republic, writers have managed to create entertaining accounts of Prague by capturing the stories of their characters to a tee.
Here are 8 fictional books that will help you see the magic and beauty of the city through the eyes of some of the most prolific writers of all time.
1 The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
The book is based on the romance between Tomás and Tereza, and their involvement in the late spring of Prague in the 60s. In addition to being a classic, it brings fragments of places that you will probably see on a tour of Prague, in the Czech Republic, such as the Moldova River or the Old Town Square, next to the famous astronomical clock.
2 The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco
A treatise on the mechanism of hatred, and a kind of synthesis of the history of prejudice, the book caused discomfort in more conservative sectors of Italian society, especially among religious, by mixing historical characters with a fictional, cynical and Machiavellian antihero capable of everything to get revenge on priests, Jesuits, communists, but, mainly, on Jews. Filled with “conspiracy theories, falsifications, Masonic subjects and details of Italian unification, it is in anti-Semitism that the heart of the narrative rests”, says Dorothy B. Ferreira, history writer at Eliteassignmenthelp and Assignment Services.
3 Magic Prague, by Angelo Maria Ripellino
The Italian author’s book of essays is centered on love and inspiration. The author pays homage to the beauty, melancholy and mystery that of the city located on the Moldova River (Vltava). Ripellino loved Prague and strongly condemned the occupation of the Czech Republic in 1968, which is why he never returned to his favorite city.
4 The Prague Orgy, by Philip Roth
The American writer embarks on a trip to Prague in 1970, in search of a manuscript written by a Jewish martyr. In the complicated journey through the communist country you will find more than you were prepared for.
5 The Secret Miracle, by Jorge Luis Borges
Playwright Jaromír Hladík is arrested in Nazi-occupied Prague. He is a Jew strongly positioned against Austria’s union with Nazi Germany. These are sufficient reasons for execution. But the moment it has to be performed, an unexpected miracle happens.
6 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
The novel, for which Michael Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize, transports readers from Nazi-occupied Prague to New York where the main characters come together to create a comic book.
7 The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
The famous writer Franz Kafka was born in Prague and before inspiring a generation of writers, he himself was inspired by this metropolis. Kafka had a special instinct that “allowed him to discover mysterious places in the alleys of Prague, which was reflected in Metamorphosis”, says Sara M. Carlson, journalist at Essay Services and Bestbritishessays.
8 The Golem, by Gustav Meyrink
The mystery novel is set in the late 19th century, on the winding streets of the ancient Jewish city. The main character travels in the past and, in turn, is in danger of death. Since the main character struggles from emotional illness, the entire novel reads like a confusing vision, where Pernath’s experiences combine in an often illogical series of events around them – all the while showing readers the truth of life in Prague in the early 20th century.
Prague is different from all other cities, as architecture mixes different eras (medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist). Everything is very well preserved, which makes the place charming and a paradise for anyone who has ever put their pen to paper. The 8 books above were inspired by picturesque cities, romantic nature or the fascinating history of Prague. Although they speak of different themes and are aimed at lovers of fantasy, satire or suspense, they have something in common: their authors were captivated by fate.
Beatrix Potter is a writer at Paper Fellows and Law Writing Help, as well as a manager at Top UK Writing Services. She spent her childhood in Prague, and upon her return to the United States, she used her own experience as the source of her several publications on different websites and magazines. She’s also a book reviewer and travel blogger.