Newly discovered stories by the greatest Czech writer of the twentieth century
Bohumil Hrabal was born in 1914 in Brno-Zidenice, Moravia. He received a degree in Law from Prague's Charles University, and lived in Prague since the late 1940s. In the 1950s he worked as a manual laborer in the Kladno ironworks, from which he drew inspiration for his "hyper-realist" texts he was writing at that time. He won international acclaim for such books as I Served the King of England and Too Loud a Solitude. Hrabal is considered, along with Jaroslav Hasek and Karel Capek, as one of the greatest Czech writers of the 20th century, and perhaps the most important in the post-war period. In February 1997 he flew out of his hospital window never to return.
"Hrabal's magical stories are comic and human... They inhabit a utopian province, the realm of laughter and tears... A great writer" -- James Wood * London Review of Books *
"Hrabal bounces and floats. His mode is a sort of dancing realism, somewhere between fairytale and satire. He is a most sophisticated novelist, with a gusting humour and a hushed tenderness of detail. We should read him" -- Julian Barnes
"The discovery of Hrabal's style is very simple. It makes pleasure a principle... Each of Hrabal's novels describes a spiral, a constant intricate movement between pleasure and fear and guilt and delight: they describe the difficult effort to be a hedonist in a world where pleasure has disappeare" -- Adam Thirlwell * Guardian *
"One of the most authentic incarnations of magical Prague, an incredible union of earthy humor and baroque imagination" -- Milan Kundera
"Written 50 years ago, in a country whose system of government is utterly alien to our lived experience, these stories are still laugh-aloud funny on pretty much every page" * Spectator *