Thursday, July 31, 2014

the last book I ever read (Gottland by Mariusz Szczygiel, excerpt five)

from Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia by Mariusz Szczygiel:

On January 16, Jaroslava Moserov√° is on call when they bring in a young man. She hears the paramedics saying that this is Torch Number One. His name is Jan Palach. He set himself on fire outside the museum on Wenceslas Square. Almost the entire surface of his body is charred, as are his airways.

The orderlies, who always call young people by their first names, address him as “sir.”

The nurses say he is Jan the Second, because he wanted to remind people of Jan Hus.

Jan Palach’s death throes last for seventy-two hours.

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