A Country Lost, Then Found by Rick Zednik is a touching account of his Slovak family, with a special focus on his father, Juraj “Jay” Zednik. Jay was lucky to be out of Czechoslovakia when the Warsaw Pact troops invaded in 1968. He sought asylum in West Germany and eventually settled in the US, where he married an American woman. He only made one brief visit back to Czechoslovakia in 1980. Meanwhile, his sister had also fled with her family, and Jay’s parents were punished by being moved into a tiny panelaky apartment.
Rick, on the other hand, moved to Slovakia in 1994 to be closer to his grandparents, who were aging and in need of his help. He was also interested in “journalistically covering and metaphorically uncovering this newly free and independent country.” Rick co-founded the Slovak Spectator and spent time with his grandparents, learning more about his family’s history and stories.
The book is most engaging when it focuses on Rick’s experiences with his grandparents and the challenges he faced in starting a newspaper from scratch. Despite his grandfather’s declining health, Rick was able to spend quality time with him until his passing in 1995. Rick stayed in Slovakia until 2000 when he left to get married, pursue a graduate degree, and work in Brussels.
A Country Lost, Then Found is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats.