1913 — 1989
Tatarka`s basic feelings are loneliness and anxiety face-to-face with himself, God and the world as a whole. Man is uprooted, he is no longer part of the community or the nation and therefore has no way of neutralizing his occasional feelings of loneliness and anxiety and these feelings are not personal anymore.
Tatarka`s first books are collections of novellas expressing and reflecting his personal experiences during the late 1930`s and early 1940`s. The Miraculous Virgin is a surreal vision of love which is also a sound protest against Fascism. His novel The Clerical Republic is full of satirical stings and his next novel based on personal experiences in the armed resistance, The First and Second Strike, definitely speaks against Fascism. These books were an expression of the author`s intent to become active in post-war life and his acceptance of socialist realism. However, two novellas from Conversations without Endrepresent a new kind of reflective prose in which facts from the past are confronted with the new political and social reality and human love is seen as the only possible way out.
Wicker Armchairs is a book in which the idea of mutual understanding between nations prevails. It is a complex and sophisticated statement reflecting the world of modern civilization, expressing the author`s critical attitude to social and interpersonal relationships in a totalitarian regime and to the world where man becomes a mere slave serving bureaucratic machinery. The most critical of Tatarka`s works is The Demon of Conformism using satirical parable to fight the red-tape practice so typical of the communist regime. This book became a symbol of the democratization process and had great influence on the new wave in Slovak literature.
Tatarka`s basic feelings are loneliness and anxiety face-to-face with himself, God and the world as a whole. Man is uprooted, he is no longer part of the community or the nation and therefore has no way of neutralizing his occasional feelings of loneliness and anxiety and these feelings are not personal anymore. They have become existential, somehow given to man, not just provoked by unfavourable circumstances. Milan Hamada
When comparing The Demon of Conformism with other Czech and Slovak "visionary works" written later, I have a feeling, and I am not sure whether it is the right feeling, that the ethos of this book, its journalistic straightforwardness and transparency, its almost romantically hard impact, all this somehow makes it closer to the tradition of Polish literature rather than the peaceful or even jovial Czech literary tradition. Václav Havel
Tatarka was a lonely runner because he never looked back on what he once had worked out and never made corrections. In the beginning he rejected religiosity only to return to it in a different form. However, he was the one who named the demon of agreement and never surrendered to it.
He was a symbol and the leading force of Slovak dissent during the 1970`s and 1980`s, a moral example of anticommunist defiance and intellectual stubbornness. The truth is, however, that Tatarka assumed this attitude only after going through several contradictory phases of his own development, even to the point of enthusiastically serving the power which in the end he helped to fight. But his was
a journey typical for many Slovak intellectuals.
Author about himself
It seems to me, that my books are not echoes of surrealism or existentialism. All the -isms we have witnessed during our life have enchanted my soul by formal inventions, graceful and provocativeShow all