The pseudonymous author of one of the Czech Republic’s bestselling books this season has been revealed to be the country’s chief rabbi, Karol Sidon, Prague Radio reported on Tuesday.
“I was surprised at how fast I was found out. I expected that it would take a lot longer,” he said in a recent interview on Czech television. “But in the end what choice did I have but to admit it?”
Sidon used the pen name Chaim Cigan to publish Altschulova Metoda, the first book of a science fiction tetralogy, mixing politics, prison cells and the secret police, with the Middle Ages, Moses and Jewish history.
Sidon, a professional playwright and screenwriter, said he opted for a pen name in order to keep his work as chief rabbi – of both Prague and the Czech Republic – separate. He explained that the name Chaim Cigan belonged to a family ancestor.
Sidon said he had intended to write a speculative or science fiction series for some time.
“Before I began writing this I couldn’t read anything but what is considered lowbrow sci-fi literature, which I really love,” he said. “The story almost unraveled by itself it was fascinating for me to watch what kind of stuff was going on in my head.”
The next two books in Sidon’s series are already complete and will be published over the next two years, Prague Radio reported. The final installment has yet to be written. The full tetralogy is entitled Kde lišky davaji dobrou noc – translated as “Where Foxes Lay Down to Sleep,” a Czech saying that refers to a far off or lost place in the middle of nowhere.