First of all, I just gotta say "Don't you love those Czechs?" I mean what other country would have a poet/playwrite/activist/ex-con president? Sorta makes me want to emigrate. Anyway, Havel's volume of letters to his wife, Olga, from prison in the late seventies is quietly revealing. I am used to his electric political comentaries and dark absurdist theater and this hollow correspondence came as a shock. Perhaps, most of all it was the shallow loveless relationship between he and Olga that surprised me. In my mind Havel is a passionate larger-than-life figure. I wanted, and expected, to discover a living and organic relationship in these pages and was utterly disapointed in that respect. What we see, and aparantly what they have (had? I dunno) is very dry, businesslike, and unmoving. I wonder if expending so much energy in the public and artistic sphere leaves little or nothing for private relationships. Perhaps that's what's going on, perhaps it is more complex or subtle. Whatever the reasons, the book was interesting as well as dissapointing in that it revealed a totally new and unexpected side of Havel. This book humanized him. As well as the troubled, or maybe just bizarre marraige, I got to hear him struggle with his daily frustrations and desires-food, health, writing, keeping himself educated and interested in life. There IS a good bit of of political writing in the letters, (it's pretty obvious that most of them were not just for Olga)including some detailed descriptions of the resistance movement, that are really as fine as any of his other writings. I could put it down to the dustjacket, but the whole had to me this sad tan feeling; heavy, still-like empty dusty rooms at that time of day where the light is all saturated. Well written and translated, all in all an interesting read.