The Book of Hrabal (Paperback)
  • The Book of Hrabal (Paperback)
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The Book of Hrabal (Paperback)

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£23.95
Paperback 168 Pages / Published: 30/05/2006
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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.

Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 9780810111998
Number of pages: 168
Weight: 204 g
Dimensions: 210 x 127 x 14 mm
Edition: Northwestern University Press ed


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Underneath Mr. Esterhazy's verbal wizardry, impudent humor and smart-aleck antics is a stinging indictment of Hungary's recently deposed regime." --New York Times Book Review
"Esterhazy pays homage to Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal in a deceptively whimsical novel that addresses deadly serious questions with stylistic panache and intellectual verve." --Kirkus Reviews
"His world is one of verbal pyrotechnics, where the story is often the language itself. . . . Esterhazy is a brilliant stylist rather than a plot merchant, and the book progresses through a series of shifting perspectives and changing tones rather than action. It is deeply allusive and playful. . . . The is the frontline of Hungarian literature." --The Times

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