A Bohemian Youth (Writings from an Unbound Europe) by Josef Hirsal

By Josef Hirsal

Winner of the 1998 PEN middle 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 kin. instructed in 5 components, A Bohemian formative years starts with a observe to the clever, strikes directly to the textual content, maintains with notes and with notes to the be aware, and ends with a word 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 visible throughout the eyes of a tender peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant woman, the behavior of the city gay, the sounds of well known tune; the best way 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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My grandparents were encouraged in their entrepreneurial endeavors by Grandmothers younger sister—Kousalova her married name was—who lived in Novy Bydzov and kept a stall at the local market. Grandmother’s baskets were marked with the initials AV (Albina Vydrova). When we were children, we enjoyed playing with expired waybills, which were known as “avisos” at the time. We got them from a woman we called the “aviso lady,” a thirty-five-year-old widow who would bring them from Ostromer on her bike and whom Joska Rehak and Tonda Gabriel once saw in Obora Woods making love with a stranger in a railway uniform.

Had left the camp and gone to the Hungarian theatre in Kiralyhida, where they were giving a Hungarian operetta. The leading roles were per­ formed by buxom Jewish actresses, whose fabulous distinc­ tion was that when they danced they threw their legs up in the air and didn’t wear either tights or drawers, and for the greater gratification of the officers they shaved themselves underneath like Tartar women. If the gallery got no grati­ fication out of this, all the more fell to the share of the officers of the artillery, who were sitting down in the stalls and had taken with them to the theatre their artillery field glasses for this beautiful spectacle” (The Good Soldier Svejk [London: Penguin Books, 1974], p.

He was also, to use a word in vogue at the time, a madcap. 3. 1. She took active part in the activities until she was married; afterwards she was merely a contributing mem­ ber. The songs she used to calm me down or put me to sleep—songs I have often found running through my un­ conscious, like “Raspberry Bush with Leaf So Broad,” “Adam Had Full Seven Sons,” “Siskin, Siskin, Little Bird,” “Water Flowing, Water Ebbing,” or “Down Fell My Sword from Black Stallion”—were all Sokol songs. The stallion song always made me cry, but I never stopped begging for it.

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