Just finished reading the latest available English translation of one of Bohumil Hrabal‘s works, Harlequin’s Millions lovingly done by Stacey Knecht in a comfortable paperback edition by Archipelago Books.
It’s written in his inimitable style, a sort of laterally exponential stream of anecdote, internally narrated and recalled by a housewife and former actress now living in a pensioner’s home through which the nostalgic strains of the title (a ballet by Riccardo Drigo) resound amidst statuary and countless inner voices and histories. A book about aging and memory, the power of the heart. A truly magnificent work.
I’ve read all available works in English by Hrabal. Even Milan Kundera once proclaimed him the greatest Czech writer, and someone as apparently affable and ebullient whi also loved cats and beer is a man after my own heart. If you’ve not read him yet, this might be a very good place to start, though favorites Too Loud a Solitude, I Served the King of England and Closely Watched Trains (the latter two available as fine films) would figure as prominent recommendations.
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