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Rake, drunkard, aesthete, gossip, raconteur extraordinaire: the narrator of Bohumil Hrabal's rambling, rambunctious masterpiece Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is all these and more. Speaking to a group of sunbathing women who remind him of lovers past, this elderly roué tells the story of his life--or at least unburdens himself of a lifetime's worth of stories. Thus we learn of amatory conquests (and humiliations), of scandals both private and public, of military adventures and domestic feuds, of what things were like "in the days of the monarchy" and how they've changed since. As the book tumbles restlessly forward, and the comic tone takes on darker shadings, we realize we are listening to a man talking as much out of desperation as from exuberance. Hrabal, one of the great Czech writers of the twentieth century, as well as an inveterate haunter of Prague's pubs and football stadiums, developed a unique method which he termed "palavering," whereby characters gab and soliloquize with abandon. Part drunken boast, part soul-rending confession, part metaphysical poem on the nature of love and time, this astonishing novel (which unfolds in a single monumental sentence) shows why he has earned the admiration of such writers as Milan Kundera, John Banville, and Louise Erdrich.
A perceptive literary critic, a world-famous writer of witty and playful verses for children, a leading authority on children's linguistic creativity, and a highly skilled translator, Kornei Chukovsky was a complete man of letters. As benefactor to many writers including Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, he stood for several decades at the center of the Russian literary milieu. It is no exaggeration to claim that Chukovsky knew everyone involved in shaping the course of twentieth-century Russian literature. His voluminous diary, here translated into English for the first time, begins in prerevolutionary Russia and spans nearly the entire Soviet era. It is the candid commentary of a brilliant observer who documents fifty years of Soviet literary activity and the personal predicament of the writer under a totalitarian regime. From descriptions of friendship with such major literary figures as Anna Akhmatova and Isaac Babel to accounts of the struggle with obtuse and hostile censorship, from the heartbreaking story of the death of the daughter who had inspired so many stories to candid political statements, the extraordinary diary of Kornei Chukovsky is a unique account of the twentieth-century Russian experience.
Ludvik, a student from Czechoslovakia, sends a postcard to his girlfriend, who gets him into deep trouble. After many years he tries to take revenge.
In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass remembers his early life, from his boyhood in a cramped two-room apartment in Danzig through the late 1950s, when "The Tin Drum "was published.
From Powells.com: This slim little volume is packed with symbolic elements. Hantá, a small man and quintessential dreck-hero, spends his life in a dank cellar where all manner of wastepaper (bloody butcher paper, paint-splattered wallpaper, gorgeous leather-bound tomes) rains down on him from a hole in the street above. While a bitter war between brown and white rats rages in the sewer below, Hantá pushes the red and green buttons of his hydraulic press. Though each bale is a work of art lovingly created, Hantá wonders at the karmic implications of his having crushed so many mice in the course of doing his work. Bohumil Hrabal's use of repeating phrasing and vivid imagery create such a lyrical and moving experience that you'll find yourself rereading many passages again and again.
A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her lover - these are the 2 couples whose story is told.
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