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The Book of Hrabal

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The Book of Hrabal Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the 2004 German Publishers and Booksellers Association Peace Prize

Named a New York Times Notable Book of 1994

Winner of 1995 The New York Times Review Notable Books

An elaborate, elegant homage to the great Czech storyteller Bohumil Hrabal (author of Closely Watched Trains), The Book of Hrabal is also a farewell to the years of communism in Eastern Europe and a glowing paean to the mixed blessings of domestic life.

Anna, blues-singing housewife and mother of three, addresses her reminiscences and reflections to Hrabal. They swing from domestic matters, to accounts of the injustices suffered by her family during the Stalinist 1950s and the police harassment in subsequent years, to her husband's crazy ideas. He frets over his current project, a book celebrating Hrabal, but seems unable to write it. Meanwhile, two angels, undercover as secret policemen, shadow the household-communicating via walkie-talkie-to prevent Anna from aborting her fourth child. God himself (aka Bruno) enters the scene; he chats with Hrabal, takes saxophone lessons from an irreverent Charlie Parker (unfortunately even this doesn't cure his tone-deaf ear), and tries to play the saxophone to dissuade her from ending the pregnancy.

Synopsis:

An elegant homage to the great Czech storyteller Bohumil Hrabal, The Book of Hrabal is also a glowing paean to blues music, saxophones, and the mixed blessings of domestic life. It is also a farewell to the years of communism in Eastern Europe. And it is a treatise on the ongoing relationship between God and humankind as reflected in the lives of a Hungarian writer and his wife. The novel centers on Anna, the blues-singing housewife and mother of three (soon to be four) who suffers through her husband's often impossible writing experiments. She addresses her reminiscences and reflections to Hrabal, his current subject. Her thoughts swing from domestic matters to the injustices suffered by her family during the Stalinist 1950s, the police harassment in subsequent years, and the many strains on her marriage. Her husband, in turn, is so hopelessly entangled in his project celebrating Hrabal that he is incapable of actually writing it. The story develops into a literary love triangle, as Hrabal becomes Anna's confidant and an invisible participant in the marriage. Meanwhile two angels shadow the house, disguised as secret policemen and speaking with God via walkie-talkie in a surprising blend of celestial and urban slang. Their mission: to prevent Anna from aborting her fourth child. When this outcome is in doubt, God himself (aka Bruno) enters the scene; he chats with Hrabal, takes saxophone lessons from an irreverent Charlie Parker, and plays the sax for Anna to try to dissuade her from ending the pregnancy. Unfortunately the Lord is tone deaf, and his love for jazz and blues is matched only by his utter lack of musical talent. A brilliant stylist, Esterhazy creates a complex and playfulnovel through deft manipulation of language, tone, and perspective.

Synopsis:

An elaborate, elegant homage to the great Czech storyteller Bohumil Hrabal (author of Closely Watched Trains), The Book of Hrabal is also a farewell to the years of communism in Eastern Europe and a glowing paean to the mixed blessings of domestic life.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of theYear

About the Author

Péter Esterházy (born 14 April 1950 in Budapest) is one of the most widely known contemporary Hungarian writers. His books are considered to be significant contributions to postwar literature.

Judith Sollosy is Senior Editor at Corvina Books in Budapest. Her translations include Staccato by István Örkény and Enre Ady's Selected Shorter Fiction

Product Details

ISBN:
9780810111998
Translator:
Sollosy, Judith
Author:
Sollosy, Judith
Author:
Esterhazy, Peter
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Location:
Evanston, Ill. :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
160-93
Publication Date:
19950931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
168
Dimensions:
8 x 4.75 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution

The Book of Hrabal New Trade Paper
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Product details 168 pages Northwestern University Press - English 9780810111998 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , An elegant homage to the great Czech storyteller Bohumil Hrabal, The Book of Hrabal is also a glowing paean to blues music, saxophones, and the mixed blessings of domestic life. It is also a farewell to the years of communism in Eastern Europe. And it is a treatise on the ongoing relationship between God and humankind as reflected in the lives of a Hungarian writer and his wife. The novel centers on Anna, the blues-singing housewife and mother of three (soon to be four) who suffers through her husband's often impossible writing experiments. She addresses her reminiscences and reflections to Hrabal, his current subject. Her thoughts swing from domestic matters to the injustices suffered by her family during the Stalinist 1950s, the police harassment in subsequent years, and the many strains on her marriage. Her husband, in turn, is so hopelessly entangled in his project celebrating Hrabal that he is incapable of actually writing it. The story develops into a literary love triangle, as Hrabal becomes Anna's confidant and an invisible participant in the marriage. Meanwhile two angels shadow the house, disguised as secret policemen and speaking with God via walkie-talkie in a surprising blend of celestial and urban slang. Their mission: to prevent Anna from aborting her fourth child. When this outcome is in doubt, God himself (aka Bruno) enters the scene; he chats with Hrabal, takes saxophone lessons from an irreverent Charlie Parker, and plays the sax for Anna to try to dissuade her from ending the pregnancy. Unfortunately the Lord is tone deaf, and his love for jazz and blues is matched only by his utter lack of musical talent. A brilliant stylist, Esterhazy creates a complex and playfulnovel through deft manipulation of language, tone, and perspective.
"Synopsis" by ,
An elaborate, elegant homage to the great Czech storyteller Bohumil Hrabal (author of Closely Watched Trains), The Book of Hrabal is also a farewell to the years of communism in Eastern Europe and a glowing paean to the mixed blessings of domestic life.
"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of theYear

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