About the Author
Egon Hostovsky was born as the youngest of eight children to a Jewish family in the northeastern Bohemian town of Hronov in 1908 where his father was the co-owner of a small textile factory. After finishing Gymnasium in Nchod in 1927, he studied at Charles University in Prague, and then in Vienna in 1929. Throughout the 1930s, he served as editor in the Prague publishing house Melantrich. During this period he published a number of novels. These were translated at the time into other European languages, notably Danish, French, Flemish, and German, and marked Hostovsky as one of the leading figures of that generation of Czech writers. In February, 1939 he left to Brussels on a lecture tour. As a result of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, he continued on to Paris and then to Lisbon before arriving in New York in February, 1940 where he stayed during the war. His father, sisters, and their families, perished in concentration camps. He returned for a brief period to Czechoslovakia in 1946, working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then in the embassy in Norway as a legal secretary, later as Charges d'Affaires. He resigned his post in 1949 and returned to the United States in February, 1950, where he taught Czech at a language school, wrote for American newspapers, and for five years was editor of the radio station Free Europe. He died in Montclair, New Jersey in 1973. The novels written in emigration were immediately translated into English (often preceding publication in Czech), thus establishing Hostovsky as a noted world author.