Gustáv Murín

Comments to writing

An official characteristics of the author

Born in April, 9th, 1959 in Bratislava in family of University professor.  Studied at Elementary Schools in Bratislava (1965-67), Baghdad (1967-1970) and Bratislava (1970-1974). Continued at Gymnasium (1974-1978), and Comenius University, Bratislava (1978-1983) with qualification B.Sc. (1983), M.Sc. (1984), and Ph.D. (1991). In 80-ties he had started to publish frequently articles, essays and interviews with cultural and scientific background; his first literary pieces emerged in literary magazines (Nové slovo mladých, Slovenské pohľady, Literárny týždenník, Romboid, Dotyky). He was establisher of Club of young playwrights (1985) and Circle of young authors (1986). During 90-ties he organized conference of young writers from Central and Eastern Europe (Budmerice, 1994) that resulted in almanac "Central Europe - Now!" (1995, ed. G. Murín). His essays were published in magazine Playboy with success and thus he become an editor of Slovak part of Czechoslovak edition (1994). In 1995 participated at International Writing Program (University of Iowa, USA), in 2002 returned as visiting lecturer. He also participated at other international programs for writers: "Creative Reporting Workshop - Facing the Challenge of the 21st Century" (conducted by Ryszard Kapuściński, Poland, 1997), International Writers Residence in Ledig House (USA, 1998), independent project of ArtsLink at Oklahoma University (USA, 2001) and International Writers Residence in Château de Lavigny  (2002). Mr. Murín is working in Institute of Cell Biology, Comenius University, in Bratislava (since 1988) as Head of Laboratory of Karyology (since 1991). Thanks to his activity in PEN International he was elected President of Slovak PEN Centre (since 2000). He lives with his wife Jana in family of two daughters in Bratislava.


Characteristics of writing
Murín belongs to the generation of authors, who grew-up by developing genre of science-fiction. In his debut based on collection of sci-fi stories COMEBACKS FROM LIGHT (1990) he broadened the scale of topics by biological and environmental domain. It reflected also his activities in civic environmental movement that become significant political power leading later to the Velvet revolution (1989). He described this period in novella THE CASE OF A BURIED CEMETERY. Novella is showing battle between old corrupted communist bureaucrats and young environmentalists from perspective of young adept of journalism. For its criticism novella can not be published officially in Slovakia and thus circulated since 1986 as samizdat and only in year when communist regime in Czechoslovakia fall down (1989) it was published in Czech. This atmosphere of 80-ties is again described in novel HOW ARE YOU (1998) with deeper insight to struggle between communists and dissidents of different ranges. Story is taking place also in "exclusive" writer's club recognized from heroes´ view as "ZOO good for exots", presented are also secret agents of famous communists "ideology-police", similar to KGB.  Bigger scene of novel is giving author a chance for irony, even self-irony as this text has significant autobiographic features. Same period is described from another view in collection of stories SUMMER FAVORS LOVERS (1990) where sexual adventures of young people are form of escape from ideologically controlled communist society where University dorms, parent's apartments and shabby pubs are only space for privacy.
  In 90-ties Murín showed also his strong feeling for provocative essay. In book SUBSTITUTIONAL END OF THE WORLD (1992) he drawing a perspective of human civilization under various inventions of biological revolution like e.g. reproductive technologies that "lead us to enormous power to rule the beginning of life", cloning etc.. Later he succeed to compile whole picture of recent revolutionary technologies in biology--cloning, genetically modified foods, gender transformation, biological weapons, euthanasia etc.-- and their implications for human life (JUST LIKE THE GODS, 2001). It suggests that the biological sciences are creating a "second Nature" for humanity, and explores these remarkable innovations and their implications for personal and social life. It is composed as a stream of attractive, information dense text divided to small chapters that are read like detective story. This book has all characteristics of bestseller and is for now top of Murín´s creativity in non-fiction. Two books about human sexuality INSTINCT CONTRA CULTURE (1994) and ORGASMODROMES (1997) are original contributions to this topic.
Example of symbioses between Murín as scientist who write non-fiction and Murín as classic writer is book ANIMALS, ME AND OTHER (PROSE) (1998). It is sensitive picture of co-existence between animals and people described at preciously written stories. Their point is often showing of our foolish ambitions to turn our pets to people-like subjects. This book is ending by large essay where author is calling for "non intervention into internal affairs of animals". It is moral appeal that is deepened by decent humor and interesting points of view.
                                                                (Author of characteristics: Anton Baláž)

On the author
"Murín has ability to attract our attention, even to provoke us. He can awake our interest and to inspire us. Especially his essays (like SUBSTITUTIONAL END OF THE WORLD) are in best sense of the genre showing his journalists ability and skillfulness that - in positive, as well as negative view - deeply impacted whole his literary activity."
                                                                                                                           Ladislav Čúzy

"Murín´s essays about human sexuality are presenting willingness to break myths that are build so laboriously in last decades - like about sexual revolution in 60-ties, mistakes in total liquidation of tabu or orgasms races of our postindustrial and highly informational society. Original opinions about orgasm as fetish of current generation of sex are main point of book titled Orgasmodromes. Scientists and writer Gustáv Murín is able to present data and statistics (selected from world as well as domestic sources) such easy way that it creates attractive reading with his own results and ideas offered to reader. "
                                                     Adriana Fábryová