Roman Ráž is an author from the older generation of Czech writers (b. 1935), who has experience not only as a prose author but also as a radio, television and film scriptwriter. His books have been published in Polish, German and Romanian. Spa Hopes is the second part of a planned trilogy of novels which follows the fates of one family in Slaňany, a Moravian spa town, over the course of the 20th century. Ráž explores the strained relationship between the Czechs and the Germans, while steering clear of painting a black and white picture. He allows a Sudeten German woman to report the horrors of displacement and he does not hide the love between his Moravian cousin and a young man from the Hitler Youth. Ráž portrays the epoch free from any partiality, with a proven mixture of memories, newspaper reports, letters and diary entries. The first volume of the trilogy, Lázeňské dobrodružství (Spa Adventures), in which Ráž focused on World War I and the following three years of battles between the left and the right over the new Czechoslovak state was nominated for the Josef Škvorecký prize.
“[Ráž] refutes the comfortable division into killers and victims, as well as rejecting collective guilt. Take, for example, Hitlerjugend member Rolf, who moves into a small hotel in Slaňany towards the end of the war: he lost his entire family because of Hitler and his gentlemanly behaviour is clearly influenced more by his spontaneous love for the granddaughter of Maria Klánská than his mandatory loyalty towards the Führer. When he takes off his uniform to go swimming, it’s suddenly not at all clear what side he’s on.”
— Radim Kopáč, UNI