Translation: Where Was the Angel Going? by Jan Balabán

Published January 12, 2021

Where Was the Angel Going? a book by the author Jan Balabán was published in English with the translation by Charles Kraszewski.

‘Somewhere in the cosmos there are happier places, ‘ muses Martin Vrána, the hero of Jan Balabán’s novel Where was the Angel Going?. ‘People are transported to the planet Earth for punishment. Part of the punishment is their ignorance of the fact. We’ve forgotten that we’ve forgotten.’ Yet, as this very reflection implies, in Martin’s case, part of his ‘punishment’ is his ever-present memory of an Eden from which he had been expelled. The prototypical outsider, a member of a minority community within a minority community (a Protestant in the overwhelmingly agnostic Czech Republic), Martin, like the survivor of a shipwreck, strives to shore up his vital resources amidst the billows of an inimical world, which constantly advance and threaten to wash away everything he holds dear.

Jan Balabán (29 January 1961 – 23 April 2010) was a Czech writer, journalist, and translator. He was considered an existentialist whose works often dealt with the wretched and desperate aspects of the human condition.