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By Vladimar Parel

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Format: Paperback / softback, 240 pages
Published In: United States, 14 October 1992
This twist on the Don Juan story examines the attractions and difficulties of freedom. In the course of his commute, Jacek Jost is suddenly catapulted out of his daily routine into a world of infinite opportunities.

About the Author

Vladimir Paral is the author of more than 20 novels, including "The Four Sonyas "and "Lovers & Murderers."


Known for apolitical parodies of the meaningless lives of the upwardly mobile technical elite, Paral enjoys great popularity in his native Czechoslovakia as well as the status of an ``official'' writer. In his third and probably best novel, Jacek Jost, a 33-year-old engineer and family man, is catapulted into the arms of a gorgeous blonde on a train ride from his company headquarters. The ensuing affair fires Jacek's obsession with escaping his routinized existence. He develops relationships with seven women in seven cities, and finds seven potential new careers, but he cannot make a choice. Jacek's frenzied, tragicomic effort to start a new life is well matched by the fast-paced, intricately constructed narrative and the novel's electrifying style. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-- Marie Bednar, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., University Park

This 1967 novel, written at the height of the heady political and literary fermentation known as the Prague Spring, is here published in English for the first time. It is black humor at its best, poking fun at the dismal brand of Czech socialism and the Czechs themselves. Jacek Jost, a young engineer with a nice family and a decent-paying job, is going through a midlife crisis. Bored with his wife, Lenka, he advertises in a lonely-hearts column and winds up with six mistresses of varying ages and professions, none of whom know he's married. But instead of feeling liberated, Jack is overwhelmed by the complicated mess he's made, as he races from woman to woman, a modern-day Don Juan. When all attempts to get a divorce fail, Jacek advertises for a lover for his wife and ends up with two highly unsuitable candidates--one is a dwarf. By the end of the book, Lenka, in a flash of spirit, has thrown her husband out of the house. A witty, provocative book that portrays the anarchic, bittersweet state of mind and place before the Soviet invasion. (Apr.)

"Paral masterfully switches from farce to drama and back again, so that in the end we feel Jost's dilemma even as we're laughing at him." "--New York Times Book Review"

EAN: 9780945774174
ISBN: 0945774176
Publisher: Catbird Press,U.S.
Dimensions: 21.41 x 14.07 x 1.7 centimetres (0.32 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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