Matej Valuch – University of Solitude

April 2, 2017

A tough ordeal, or a ‘blessing’? How do you feel when hearing solitude? I think for most people, solitude refers to a state of existence they don’t want to experience. Well, that’s definitely not my case. I am a lonely wolf and I had always been one.

University of Solitude is no easy read. If you tend to go very emotional when reading, and imagine things you see just on the pages of the book, it’s likely not a good read for you. But if you like to think, and aren’t afraid of confronting your opinions and attitudes, than this true inspirational story about a young businessman who got imprisoned in Iran, and seemingly lost all that could be lost in life, is a great choice of a book.


Simple but authentic

Valuch didn’t take me back with his writing style like Conrad did, and he didn’t even try to do so. Neither does he pretend to know more than he actually does, like Newton, from my last review. He just writes what he experienced in his custody. Positive emotions, negative emotions, interrogations, torture, with utmost simplicity and authenticity. You can easily imagine how he felt when experiencing 40 days in solitary confinement, since he hides nothing from the reader. The book is a true story, which makes this easier, but nonetheless I had probably never read a book more authentic.


Story, or a philosophy?

Valuch jumps quickly from topic to topic, and his book is not chronological. You find yourself in solitary confinement in one chapter, just to be already sharing the stories of other prisoners of conscience in the next one. It’s no easy read, and you need to stay focused, or you can get lost in the plot, and eventually not find out what really happened to the hero! Nevertheless, the individual chapters have their own meaning, plot, and thoughts to inspire, so they can be served on their own and do their justice to the reader.


Atypical beginning and end

The book is nothing but typical. Instead of working with a recognized writer, Valuch decided to narrate his story on his own. You can feel from his writing that he had no prior experience with book writing, let alone stylistics. That’s why his book doesn’t start with a typical boring introduction, and didn’t end with his ‘rescue’ from prison. It’s a different cup of coffee throughout, and I enjoyed every sip of it!


Recommended to readers

I would recommend the book for people who seek, who aren’t assured of everything in their life, and maybe also to people who feel unhappy. Valuch inspiring story can change the way you feel about your daily life, and if nothing else, it offers an opportunity to see behind the scenes of fascinating (and dirty) world of international espionage.


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