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I Served the King of England

by

I Served the King of England Cover

ISBN13: 9780811216876
ISBN10: 081121687x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century Czechoslovakia.

First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I Served the King of England is "an extraordinary and subtly tragicomic novel" (The New York Times), telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II. Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie. It is one of the great moments in his life. Eventually, he falls in love with a Nazi woman athlete as the Germans are invading Czechoslovakia. After the war, through the sale of valuable stamps confiscated from the Jews, he reaches the heights of his ambition, building a hotel. He becomes a millionaire, but with the institution of communism, he loses everything and is sent to inspect mountain roads. Living in dreary circumstances, Ditie comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, and with his place in history.

Synopsis:

Isolated and impoverished, Ditie comes to a greater understanding of good and evil, and of his place in the vortex of history.

Synopsis:

In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century Czechoslovakia.

Synopsis:

First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I Served the King of England is "an extraordinary and subtly tragicomic novel" (The New York Times), telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II. Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie. It is one of the great moments in his life. Eventually, he falls in love with a Nazi woman athlete as the Germans are invading Czechoslovakia. After the war, through the sale of valuable stamps confiscated from the Jews, he reaches the heights of his ambition, building a hotel. He becomes a millionaire, but with the institution of communism, he loses everything and is sent to inspect mountain roads. Living in dreary circumstances, Ditie comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, and with his place in history.

About the Author

Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was born in Moravia and started writing poems under the influence of French surrealism. In the early 1950s he began to experiment with a stream-of-consciousness style, and eventually wrote such classics as I Served the King of England, Closely Watched Trains (made into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Jiri Menzel), The Death of Mr. Baltisberger, and Too Loud a Solitude. He fell to his death from the fifth floor of a Prague hospital, apparently trying to feed the pigeons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

jo beth, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by jo beth)
This was one of the best books I've read in years. It's hilarious, riveting, absurd but also profound in unexpected ways. Hrabal makes fun of our baser tendencies and hypocrisies but also creates haunting poetic images that will stay with you. This is also a great introduction to Czech history and, I think, that great black humor of Eastern Europe.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780811216876
Author:
Hrabal, Bohumil
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Translator:
Wilson, Paul
Author:
Wilson, Paul
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Czechoslovakia
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Picaresque literature
Subject:
Czechoslovakia History.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Series:
New Directions Classics
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

I Served the King of England New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811216876 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Isolated and impoverished, Ditie comes to a greater understanding of good and evil, and of his place in the vortex of history.
"Synopsis" by , In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century Czechoslovakia.
"Synopsis" by , First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I Served the King of England is "an extraordinary and subtly tragicomic novel" (The New York Times), telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II. Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie. It is one of the great moments in his life. Eventually, he falls in love with a Nazi woman athlete as the Germans are invading Czechoslovakia. After the war, through the sale of valuable stamps confiscated from the Jews, he reaches the heights of his ambition, building a hotel. He becomes a millionaire, but with the institution of communism, he loses everything and is sent to inspect mountain roads. Living in dreary circumstances, Ditie comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, and with his place in history.
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