By Suzanne Ruta
Updated November 22, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Everything that can be said has been said. New writers can only update old stories. That’s the theory of postmodern art, and it works well in this wonderful saga of five Czech artists restoring the facade of a castle in Bohemia. Monikova, a Czech living in Germany since 1971, builds her rich novel, The Façade, from layers of Kafka, Hasek, Janacek, and other icons of her culture and history. In the same way, her artists ad-lib new decorations on top of old, covering the castle walls with emblems of endangered species, comic strips, and pornographic couplings. Between pollution, shortages, and fights with the Commie janitor, the restoration project will take forever. It makes a great metaphor for the stagnation of the Communist state. A vital, original, and clairvoyant work of art, first published in Germany in 1987. A

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