Author whose work sparked hit movies remembered
Friends recall writer Petr Šabach, whose stories became the basis for some of the best-loved Czech films of recent years and who died at the weekend.
Perhaps his best-loved legacy is Pelíšky (Cosy Dens), which offered a bittersweet and very funny portrayal of life under communism.
Jan Hřebejk’s 1999 film was based on short stories gathered in the collection Hovno hoří (Shit Burns), which drew heavily on Šabach’s own life growing up in the Prague 6 district in the 1960s.
In an interview with Czech Radio last year, he discussed his receipt of the Karel Čapek prize, in part for inspiring young readers.
Petr Šabach’s stories were also adapted for other Hřebejk films, including Pupendo and the hit early 1990s musical Šakalí léta (Big Beat).
The music for the latter was written by Šabach’s boyhood friend and one-time flatmate Ivan Hlas.
The writer was known for his love of pubs and Hlas said he was just as great a storyteller over a pivo as he was on the page.
Prague-based humorous writer Steve Fisher was also a friend of Petr Šabach’s. The pair first met when Šabach was so impressed by the American’s magazine columns that he got his publishers Paseka to put them out. Steve Fisher:
“I will remember him as the person to whom I owe becoming a published writer. And I’ll also just remember the way that he so perfectly captured life in this country and the sly, absurd irony of his stories, which I was first introduced to – probably like most people – not as much through his books but through the films that were based on his books, like Pelíšky and Pupendo, which made me laugh out loud.”