After I was allowed to be here in Australia legally, I went back to my home country, packed up my things in my tiny Istanbul apartment and shipped them over here. It was one big container full of family heirlooms and books. I mean, a lot of books. It would have been even more if my father hadn’t been forced to burn quite a lot of them before and after 1980 military coup. I now own the surviving members of that library. My Dad also had this habit of signing the first page of every book we had in our library along with its date of purchase and our surname.
In June, I will be visiting Czech Republic for the first time (my first first). I thought it would be good to read a book, at least, by a Czech author and add Czechoslovakia to my Around the World in 80 Books list on book journal too. I asked my friend Jana, who is originally from Prague to recommend a Czech author when she came to my place for dinner. She said “Milan Kundera is the most popular.” I remembered seeing one of his books in amongst my Dad’s books. So I checked after she left. There it was: The joke. Kundera’s first book (the second first).
This is what The Joke’s Turkish version looks like. An old version, of course. Published by E Publications in March, 1969.
After my discovery, I happily, flipped the cover over to see the date and found out that it was purchased on my first birthday (the third first). The moment I was thinking “How many more firsts can you actually have with this book?” I realised that it was also a first edition.
I know, I’m revealing my age by putting this photo here but hey, what the heck? Has anyone read The Joke? I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.