By Josef Hirsal
Winner of the 1998 PEN heart united states West Award for translation
Josef Hirsal's experimental novel is a Dada-like romp throughout the lifetime of a tender guy born right into a Bohemian peasant kinfolk. informed in 5 components, A Bohemian formative years starts off with a observe to the clever, strikes directly to the textual content, maintains with notes and with notes to the observe, and ends with a notice at the notes to the notes.
More than simply a tongue-in-cheek parody of a literary memoir, A Bohemian formative years is a glimpse of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic as obvious throughout the eyes of a tender peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant woman, the behavior of town gay, the sounds of renowned song; the way in which humans consume in wartime--Hirsal's novel is a wrenching and hilarious story of a tender man's emotional and sexual awakening.
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Extra resources for A Bohemian Youth (Writings from an Unbound Europe)
2 42. Soft cheese (also called gooey cheese, old cheese, or, in teachers’ families, domestic cheese) was made by letting curds stand in a stoneware pot for a time—a week in winter, four or five days in summer—with an admixture of cumin, paprika, and salt. 1 43. Emilie Vavrova, the midwife, was a local celeb rity. She took a medicine bag to every delivery, and the plaque on her house read “Licensed Midwife, Assis tant to Dr. ” She was talkative and goodnatured and was loved by all. People called Mr.
During the war I played at the Pateks’ pub with the “gizzard gang,” a group of butchers who bought and slaughtered diseased and dying cattle and sold the meat on the black market in Vrchlabf and other towns and villages up in the hills. The code word for the meat they thus obtained was “gizzard,” hence their name. The members of the gizzard gang were rolling in money, whereas my friends and I were in rather straightened circumstances. We were often joined by the warrant officer of the gendarmerie, Sergeant Chytry, whose wife, a Sudeten German, never quite mastered Czech and voted for Henlein’s separatist party.
Arrived at Erzego, approx. 1,000 meters above sea level, 10 p . , dripping wet. Found an empty house, but had to nail a piece of tin over the window or, rather, what had been the window facing Italy. Froze without blankets, beds falling apart, left behind by fleeing population. Woken 3 a . , grenade fire aimed at nearby road. Shivering with cold, lit fire in stove, but no chimney Smoke poured out o f windows and door. 4 April. Beautiful weather this morning. Italian aeroplanes cir cling overhead at noon.