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Bryan Felber

The Prague Orgy:
An American Writer’s Take on Communist Czechoslovakia

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Bryan Felber

“What good is socialism if when I want to nobody will fuck me?” (Prague Orgy 37). Biting one-liners like this are packed tight into the novella, The Prague Orgy, penned by the irreverent yet reputable Jewish American writer, Philip Roth. The book, which has recently been adapted for the screen by Czech filmmaker Irena Pavlásková, is inspired by the real-life visits Roth made to Prague during the mid-70s. In the fiction, the essence of his many yearly visits is distilled into a single dramatic journey behind the Iron Curtain where Nathan Zuckerman, Roth’s alter ego, is attempting to rescue the unpublished manuscripts of a dead Yiddish writer from the clutches of its maniacal keeper, Olga Sisovska, and past the ever-looming surveillance of the communist authorities. In real-life, Roth was meeting with writers like Ivan Klíma, Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Ludvík Vaculík, and Karol Sidon, compiling the works of these Czech dissident writers to be published in America. So the idea of saving literary talent from obscurity was an actual feat Roth successfully performed, but his visits did not leave him unscathed.

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Smiling through the Ups and Downs. Mayra Lopez-Garcia: the 100-mile Trail Runner

in Interviews/Views

by Bryan Felber

Mayra relieved to have just completed the Western States 100-mile race. © Hilary Ann

It’s pitch-black on a lonely section of the Western States Trail – a century-old dusty path that winds through the unrelenting Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Much of the trail that stretches from Utah to California is only accessible by horse, helicopter, or foot. For 34-year-old Mayra Lopez-Garcia, she’s opted for the last form of transportation – the never-failing heal-toe express. Only problem is, as she summits a peak to reach a pit stop at mile 80 of her 100-mile ultramarathon, the wheels of her carriage – her feet – are “completely trashed.”

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Those blue parking signs with that H word

in Interviews

by Bryan Felber


“My worst enemy,” Lucy calls these signs that either use or evoke the word handicap.


Lucy Meyer speaking to officials at the US Ambassador’s Residence in Azerbaijan. PHOTO PROVIDED BY TeamLucyMeyer, USED WITH PERMISSION.

Lucy Meyer, the Spokesperson for the Special Olympics – UNICEF USA Partnership and a global advocate for people with disabilities, places great care in the language she uses, especially when describing people with disabilities. 


Living with physical and intellectual disabilities due to her cerebral palsy, Lucy at the age of 22 has won five gold medals in swimming in the Special Olympics and has travelled around the world to advocate for people with disabilities.


However, she still gets annoyed by these parking signs every time she goes out.


“Why do you hate them?” I ask her.


Lucy: “Because we’re not handicapped or disabled people, so we don’t need to use that language toward anyone.”


Bryan: “What kind of language do you use when referring to people with disabilities?”


Lucy: “Well, I do person first, not the disability. So, like, I’m a person with a disability, but not a disabled person. So, I think person before disability is probably one of the most important things ever. We’re not disabled, handicapped people. We’re just people who need extra help.” Keep Reading

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