Michal Viewegh

Michal Viewegh

Novelist, one of the best-selling and most widely read authors today. His work has been translated into 23 languages including English, German and Spanish. He is the recipient of the Jiří Orten Award (1993) and the Magnesia Litera Readers’ award (2005). He was born in Prague on 31 March 1962.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
God in a Renault (Bůh v renaultu) Druhé město 2017
Moonlighting (Melouch) Druhé město 2016
Eco-Husband (Biomanžel) Druhé město 2015
Back in the game (Zpátky ve hře) Druhé město 2015
Angels of the Everyday (Andělé všedního dne) Druhé město 2014 DE | PL
My Life after Life (Můj život po životě) Druhé město 2013
The Big Freeze from Prague Castle (Mráz přichází z Hradu) Druhé město 2012
The Mafia in Prague (Mafie v Praze) Druhé město 2011 DE
Another Wonderful Year (Další báječný rok) Druhé město 2011
Eco-Wife (Biomanželka) Druhé město 2010 PL | IT
A Man´s Novel (Román pro muže) Druhé město 2010 IT | PL
Thoughts of a Loving Reader (Nápady laskavého čtenáře (audiokniha)) Supraphon 2010
Three Dads and a Mum (Tři tatínci a maminka) Brio 2010
The Wonderful Years of Lousy Living (audio) (Báječná léta pod psa (audiokniha)) Tympanum 2009
Tales of Love (Povídky o lásce) Druhé město 2009 NL | DE
A Man´s Novel (Román pro muže) Druhé město 2008 IT | PL
Angels of the Everyday (audio) (Andělé všedního dne (audiokniha)) Tympanum 2007
Short Fairy Tales for Tired Parents (Krátké pohádky pro unavené rodiče) Druhé město 2007 PL
Angels of the Everyday (Andělé všedního dne) Druhé město 2007 DE | PL
A Wonderful Year / Diary for 2005 (Báječný rok (deník 2005)) Druhé město 2006
The Creative Writing Lesson (Lekce tvůrčího psaní) Petrov 2005
Three in Deep Troubles (Tři v háji (s H. Pawlowskou a I. Hercíkovou)) Motto 2004
Roses for Markéta or: Parties for the Revolutionaries (Růže pro Markétu aneb Večírky revolucionářů) Větrné mlýny 2004
Dodgeball (Vybíjená) Petrov 2004 IT | ES | PL | DE  2005 Magnesia Litera – Readers’ award
The Case of Unfaithful Klára (Případ nevěrné Kláry) Petrov 2003 DE | PL | IT
Serving Two Masters (Na dvou židlích) Petrov 2003
The Wonderful Years Under Klaus (Báječná léta s Klausem) Petrov 2002
A Woman´s Novel (Román pro ženy) Petrov 2001 RU | IT | PL | DE
More Thoughts of a Loving Reader (Nové nápady laskavého čtenáře) Petrov 2000
Smorgasbords or: What We´re Like (Švédské stoly aneb Jací jsme) Petrov 2000
Tales of Marriage and Sex (Povídky o manželství a sexu) Petrov 1999 PL | DE
Notes On Fatherly Love (Zapisovatelé otcovský lásky) Petrov 1998 PL | RU | DE
Tourists on an Excursion (Účastníci zájezdu) Petrov 1996 PL
Bringing Up Girls in Bohemia (Výchova dívek v Čechách) Český spisovatel 1994 PL | ES | IT | DE | EN
Thoughts of a Loving Reader (Nápady laskavého čtenáře) Petrov 1993
Bliss was it in Bohemia (Báječná léta pod psa) Československý spisovatel 1992 EN | PL | RU | IT | DE  1993 Jiří Orten Award
Opinions on a Murder (Názory na vraždu) Československý spisovatel 1990
God in a Renault
Bůh v renaultu
Eco-Husband
Biomanžel
Back in the game
Zpátky ve hře
Angels of the Everyday
Andělé všedního dne
My Life after Life
Můj život po životě
The Big Freeze from Prague Castle
Mráz přichází z Hradu
The Mafia in Prague
Mafie v Praze
Další báječný rok
Another Wonderful Year
Další báječný rok
Eco-Wife
Biomanželka
A Man´s Novel
Román pro muže
Nápady laskavého čtenáře (audiokniha)
Thoughts of a Loving Reader
Nápady laskavého čtenáře (audiokniha)
Tři tatínci a maminka
Three Dads and a Mum
Tři tatínci a maminka
Báječná léta pod psa (audiokniha)
The Wonderful Years of Lousy Living (audio)
Báječná léta pod psa (audiokniha)
Tales of Love
Povídky o lásce
A Man´s Novel
Román pro muže
Andělé všedního dne (audiokniha)
Angels of the Everyday (audio)
Andělé všedního dne (audiokniha)
Short Fairy Tales for Tired Parents
Krátké pohádky pro unavené rodiče
Angels of the Everyday
Andělé všedního dne
Báječný rok (deník 2005)
A Wonderful Year / Diary for 2005
Báječný rok (deník 2005)
The Creative Writing Lesson
Lekce tvůrčího psaní
Tři v háji (s H. Pawlowskou a I. Hercíkovou)
Three in Deep Troubles
Tři v háji (s H. Pawlowskou a I. Hercíkovou)
Růže pro Markétu aneb Večírky revolucionářů
Roses for Markéta or: Parties for the Revolutionaries
Růže pro Markétu aneb Večírky revolucionářů
Dodgeball
Vybíjená
The Case of Unfaithful Klára
Případ nevěrné Kláry
Na dvou židlích
Serving Two Masters
Na dvou židlích
Báječná léta s Klausem
The Wonderful Years Under Klaus
Báječná léta s Klausem
A Woman´s Novel
Román pro ženy
Nové nápady laskavého čtenáře
More Thoughts of a Loving Reader
Nové nápady laskavého čtenáře
Švédské stoly aneb Jací jsme
Smorgasbords or: What We´re Like
Švédské stoly aneb Jací jsme
Tales of Marriage and Sex
Povídky o manželství a sexu
Notes On Fatherly Love
Zapisovatelé otcovský lásky
Tourists on an Excursion
Účastníci zájezdu
Bringing Up Girls in Bohemia
Výchova dívek v Čechách
Nápady laskavého čtenáře
Thoughts of a Loving Reader
Nápady laskavého čtenáře
Bliss was it in Bohemia
Báječná léta pod psa
Názory na vraždu
Opinions on a Murder
Názory na vraždu
Award Year Country
Magnesia Litera – Readers' award 2005 Czech Republic
Jiří Orten Award 1993 Česká republika
Praise
It is high time the successor to Milan Kundera’s throne was declared – and it can be no other than Michal Viewegh. Viewegh achieves a symbiosis of the substantial, the important and the entertaining. His books are intelligent yet easy to read; they are comprehensive yet simple.
—Thomas Brussig
Der Spiegel

He graduated from the College of Education, taught for a short while and then worked as an editor at a publishing firm. He has been a freelance writer since 1995. He made his literary debut with Názory na vraždu (Opinions on a Murder, Československý spisovatel, 1990), and then made his breakthrough with the autobiographical novel Báječná léta pod psa (Bliss Was it in Bohemia, 1992) about the period of Normalization in Czechoslovakia. The main character, the author’s alter ego Kvido, describes his birth in a theatre, his childhood, love and how his family moved from Prague to Sázava, where they hoped to find some peace from the political machinations, but even here were unable to escape the security screening. “However, the capriciousness of the ‘blissful’ farce continues to poison the story of Kvido’s father, who was born ‘with high intelligence into lowly circumstances’ and could neither psychologically nor humanly bear the chain of subjugation which followed him after family circumstances forced him to compromise politically,” wrote Martin Pilař about the more tragic elements of the book in the Dictionary of Czech Prose. Báječná léta pod psa was not only widely acclaimed and republished many times, it was also made into a film by Petr Nikolaj (1997).

There then followed Nápady laskavého čtenáře (Thoughts of a Loving Reader, Petrov, 1993) based on amusing characters resembling Czech and international authors. Nové nápady laskavého čtenáře (New Thoughts of a Loving Reader, Petrov, 2000) continued in a similar vein. The novel Výchova dívek v Čechách (Bringing Up Girls in Bohemia, Československý spisovatel, 1994) tells the story of the relationship between a creative-writing teacher and his pupils from a well-to-do family. The book was made into a film by Petr Koliha soon after publication. There then followed the novel/situation comedy Účastníci zájezdu (Tourists on an Excursion, Petrov, 1996) about a random group of holiday makers who are brought together when they share a coach and then a hotel on the Adriatic. It was filmed by Jiří Vejdělek in 2006.

Zapisovatelé otcovský lásky (Notes on Fatherly Love, Petrov, 1998) describes the relationships in the family of a high-ranking military officer. Román pro ženy (A Woman’s Novel, Petrov, 2001), again with a farcical overview, describes the (love) life of the main character, Laura, the editor of a magazine called Vyrovnaná žena (Balanced Woman), and that of her friends. The book was made into a film by Filip Renč in 2004.

Případ nevěrné Kláry (The Case of Unfaithful Clara, Petrov, 2003) describes what happens when a successful novelist hires a private detective to follow his unfaithful wife. The book was made into a film by Roberto Faenza in 2009.

The melancholic farce Vybíjená (Dodgeball, Petrov, 2004) describes the lives of four former schoolmates from high school who are about to reach their forties. It was made into a film by Petr Nikolaj in 2014.

Andělé všedního dne (Angels of the Everyday, Petrov, 2007), written after the death of the author’s father, marks a turning point in Viewegh’s work; his viewpoint and humour darken, resembling more of a sigh, albeit still readable. It is the story of angels and people whose paths cross in a single day. Jan Kábrt wrote of the book in the daily newspaper MFDnes that, “It is sad, perhaps even Viewegh’s saddest book.”

Developing some of the themes from Vybíjená, Román pro muže (A Man’s Novel, Druhé město, 2008) even garnered praised from the critics who normally accused Viewegh of being too accessible to a mass readership. “With Viewegh it is necessary to recognise not only a great literary talent but also a certain circumspection. He knows his own strengths and weaknesses. The strengths – wit, a fine sense for everyday speech, the ability to capture a social atmosphere – he uses these brilliantly. His weaknesses – intricate plots, profound psychology of his characters, etc – he usually tries to avoid these. Román pro muže is an excellently constructed composition which Viewegh uses to tell a relatively straightforward story,” wrote Ladislav Nagy about the book in the weekly magazine Týden.

Biomanželka (Eco-Wife, Druhé město, 2010) describes living with a health-obsessed woman, again in the form of farcical situations. The female narrator is a doula who is also dissatisfied, though, naturally, she is capable of wonderful descriptions of family life with Mojmír and Hedvika.

The novel Mafie v Praze (The Mafia in Prague, Petrov, 2011) is a literary thriller which Viewegh wrote with the investigative journalist Jaroslav Kmenta. In her review for Reflex magazine Kateřina Kadlecová wrote, “I believe this to be one of his best books. When writing it the author had in mind those of us who devour Dan Brown and are able to compromise slightly in relation to the standards set by established authors from the hard school, and then he had in mind those of us who are interested in the Czech political-mafia scene, and of course also for those of us who, like the author, have long been outraged by the ugly practices of the “lords on high”, by police work and by the political machinations which catapult the Czech Republic far beyond the Urals.” The follow-up, Mráz přichází z Hradu (The Big Freeze from Prague Castle, Druhé město, 2012), failed to receive such acclaim.

At the end of 2012 the author’s aorta burst and this encounter with death is described in his diary novel Můj život po životě (My Life after Life, Druhé město, 2013). He returned to writing with the novel Biomanžel (Eco-Husband, Druhé město, 2015), a variation on the original Biomanželka, in which the doula once again narrates with her sharp tongue. Mojmír shares his experience of clinical death with the author. In his review for the daily newspaper MFDnes, Radim Kopáč wrote that, “Biomanžel naturally continues from where Viewegh left off with his best work such as Vybíjená (2004) and Andělé všedního dne (2007). These were the areas in his extensive bibliography where he dealt with his most serious matters to date – middle-age crises and the death of his father.”

Viewegh has also written two books of feuilletons called Švédské stoly (Banquets, Petrov, 2000) and Na dvou židlích (On Two Chairs, Petrov, 2003), the diary Báječný rok (A Wonderful Year, Petrov, 2005) and Další báječný rok (Another Wonderful Year, Druhé město, 2011). He also wrote Krátké pohádky pro unavené rodiče (Short Fairy Tales for Tired Parents, Druhé město, 2007) and the play Růže pro Markétu (A Rose for Markéta, Větrné mlýny, 2004). He has had several short-story books published, and many of his books have been made into films, often with his cooperation as scriptwriter.

Notable awards
 2005 Magnesia Litera – Readers’ award
 1993 Jiří Orten Award
Foreign rights
Dana Blatná Literary Agency
W: http://www.dbagency.cz
E: blatna@dbagency.cz
Contacts
W: http://www.viewegh.cz
Interview
This is what we live in, it’s not just a wild fantasy of mine