Inzerát na dům, ve kterém už nechci bydlet Audible –

Beautiful blueberry nights fill my liver with morning and the nozzle of my heart spews forth an amalgam of blood.This collection was supposed to stew It was the subject of a group read and I had planned to read a piece every 2 3 days Alas I was at the Walgreen s clinic and hours drifted past The titular piece is an absurdist litany, a Fellini film shot in Prague under the drunken eyes of State Security The subsequent pieces all contain demolition and smelting Literally this could be construed as a paean to the factory, but the materials all appear to be in flux Everything is being torn down, just as exaggerated production figures are broadcast over the radio like some hit parade Stalin s shadow has slinked into history and quickly his statues are smashed with sledgehammers and dismembered with acetylene torches Workers proclaim their constitutional rights to strike as reluctant administrators plan to have them arrested Theft and prostitution become attractive in the worker s paradise Despite such socialist realism trappings, the themes are universal, the angst which is afforded to everyone, the despair we inherit in the womb This is an amazing assemblage, one made slick with Pilsner and laughter. An utterly superb collection of stories by a truly remarkable writer These tales are thematically linked and are muscular, disturbing, strange, lyrical and uplifting all at the same time The atmosphere of postwar Prague and the steel works on the outskirts is evoked with remarkable skill The Czech Republic has long been the source of much world class literature and genius writers Hrabal is rapidly becoming my favourite Czech writer of all. Man as massNote I read only the title storyWhile reading Hrabal s title story Mr.Kafka , I was reminded of how I used to imagine Schulz s writing would be after reading about his life and before reading his writing , but later I was proved wrong If Schulz s escape if I could use that word from his surroundings was in avoiding any drop or shade of his times in his writing, Hrabal s escape is through peering into that very chaos and yet, see some extraneous meaning in it As he puts it the humour and metaphysical escape in that very chaos Language is an unique, mirage kind of thing, that the man has mastered It is seductive, manipulative, musical, etc etc etc, and Hrabal uses it to his advantage Below the shining fluid prose lies the dangers of his time And he doesn t neglect that part, unlike Schulz As we all know, Hrabal lived under communist Czechoslovakia And that s where comes my title Man as mass Our protagonist or any subject under the communist rule weren t primarily individuals, but they were all mass Not as singular parts making that whole mass, but just mass Mr Kafka, our protagonist, while roaming in the streets ponders upon his existence, identity, love life, childhood and Czechoslovakian people The reveries of the character fills the text of the story The mapping of the thoughts will end up in a complexly connected web strands, which only Hrabal could construct He Mr Kakfa just goes along the tide and assumes whatever the role the people give him, and later on remarks that he had never been what people thought he was not a stable hand, or baker, not a mischief maker, or a sadist But he himself is not sure of what he really is either, and so he asks a lady, does she know a Franz Kafka She replies, in a peculiar name formation that is unique to their language, that she is a kafka and so her husband, and many There is a place where he stresses this point of individual identity through a series of three short anaphoric passages each containing multiple sentences separated by semicolon and unified by the word One which are themselves broken and linked, and interspersed with episodes of his past, and present day Czechoslovakia He meets various people and engage in a passing conversations with them The lady soothsayer, a child artist, Jews in tavern, girlfriend, a practical philosopher one of the hilarious episodes I have read for a while now , landlady and many Almost all, except the child artist and his girlfriend portray a schizophrenic inclination in their talks and actions.In a way, this is about an inner conflict and war against the maddening world and people by Hrabal Mr.Kafka Unfortunately, I read it from a physical book and not from an e book So I am not finding it easy to quote any of his beautiful lines But I will just mention one or two A prostitute ambles by, resplendent in a white dress, like an angel she turns, the pod of her mouth splits open, and two rows of white peas come tumbling out I long to etch colourful words into her smile, hoping that next morning she ll read them as she stands before the mirror, her toothbrush in hand At another point in time At this point a man falls in beside me and starts telling me about the many strange jobs he s had how he worked in Prague s first automated cafeteria, the Koruna, and how he had to sit concealed inside the contraption and check the one crown coin people pit in the slot , and if it was genuine, he d put a sandwich on a plate and rotate the mechanism, and he could hear the oohs and ahhs of astonishment at this wonderful invention or how he had sat inside the huge clock at the exhibition grounds and, with a pocket watch in one hand, he d push the big hand forward once every minute As he told me this, he stood there, still transfixed at the wonder of his life Who are you I ask A practical philosopher, he replies Then would you kindly explain Kant t Critique of Practical Reason to me, I say End of quotes.The story is a part sombre, low key tragedy, hilarious, and profoundly disturbing.To finish where I started, beyond his fear of dissolution of individuality, there was only one Hrabal, who wrote one Kafka, who wrote one Mr.Kafka, written one writer, who writes one artist, who creates History was in the side of Hrabal Mr.Kafka. This collection of short stories is just now being published with an English translation, but was published in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s The story are all of the 1950s, post war, during the Stalinist reach into Czechoslovakia Throughout the stories, the former religious icons crosses, art and items of war are being boiled in vats of acid and otherwise destroyed repurposed Most of the characters are prisoners or prostitutes, and the first and last story feature the character of Mr Kafka I hate to say it.I m going to say it.These stories are Kafkaesque Especially the first and last, with this man wandering around a town with no purpose, and nobody knows him, or thinks he is somebody else I usually hate the term Kafkaesque but 1950s Communist empire usually fits it wellIt s not easy being a decent Communist these days Hrabel captures the absurdity well, and I was pleased that the humor makes its way even through the translation not an easy feat The language itself should be mentioned for the brevity of the stories there is a density of language You can almost feel the elevated high Czech words being pummeled into the new bland and industrial world, the way Paul Wilson has translated the stories Perhaps I m imagining it, but if I m right, this could also be the very intentional craft of HrabalAll our good old golden days are being smelted down and you don t even know it s happening You re tossing the very means of production that created your class into the furnace, and you re completely unaware of itI received a review copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Life is still magnificent as long as one maintains the illusion that an entire world can be conjured from a tiny patch of earth120 A little book of short stories, written just as the communists had seized power and were leading Czechoslovakia to a socialist nirvana.The stories reflect peoples struggles as they adjust to the new truth There are some powerful scenes in particular the contrast where a stonemason repairs a church statue whilst in the distance he witnesses the destruction of a monstrously huge statue of Stalin, and the rape and reporting of a blind drunk young girl who is late in presenting herself to prison but in truth I found the book patchy. Era Stato Angelo M Ripellino A Far Conoscere In Italia Questo Libro Tradotto Da Einaudi Nel Sette Racconti Ironico Grotteschi Ambientati Negli Anni Pi Duri E Bui Dello Stalinismo I Piccoli Eroi Protagonisti Di Questo Libro Sono Omini Da Nulla, Che A Dispetto Delle Regole Livellatrici E Nemiche Della Fantasia, Conservano Ancora Un Grano Di Follia E Si Ingegnano Di Accomodare Alla Meglio La Propria Vita Nelle Strettoie Del RegimeQuesti Fantasticatori Sono Anzitutto Degli Insicuri E Degli Offesi Che Inventano Senza Risparmio Universi Lunatici La Loro Conversazione Fitta Di Aneddoti, Di Frottole, In Cui L Immaginazione Prende La Sua Rivincita Sulla Meschina Realt , Con Risultati Di Una Intensa Comicit VerbaleA Met Strada Tra La Linea Metafisica Di Kafka E Quella Loquace Di Hasek Il Padre Del Celebre Soldato Sveik , Hrabal Mescola Con Una Scrittura Frenetica E Surreale Normalit E Follie, Desideri E Paure Di Una Societ Che Non Vuole Pi Abitare In Una Casa Governata Dalle Ferree Leggi Della Dittatura It takes a lot of nerve for anyone, let alone a Czech, to title a story Mr Kafka Finicky Franz casts such a huge shadow on the literature of Prague that it s audacious to the point of foolhardiness to invite the comparison But if anyone earned the right to do it in life, it was Bohumil Hrabal The Brno born eccentric who, when he died in 1997 in a tragicomic fall from a window while feeding pigeons a demise both referred to in and perfectly in keeping with his work was widely considered one of the greatest Czech writers of all time, certainly didn t mind suggesting a kinship between himself and that other fellow living, as he did, under an oppressive Communist regime, he likely considered overzealous literary comparisons to be the least of his troubles.Hrabal, probably best known in America as the author of I Served the King of England and the novel that would become Jir Menzel s classic film Closely Watched Trains, was often on the receiving end of censure from the state But a new collection of some of his short fiction, titled Mr Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult, shows that he never quite had an entirely oppositional relationship with the government that constantly threatened him with censorship or worse The cult , as he termed the postwar period of extreme repression and the personality worship of Stalin and Novotny, was no better or worse than other times of capricious fate and wanton cruelty humans treated one another badly in the abstract and lovingly in the concrete Despite the lunacy of the era, he wrote that his stories not mere condemnation , but an affirmation that his Prague was filled with people who had not forgotten the fundamental house rules of human coexistence.The seven brief stories in Mr Kafka are light on plot they tend to be build around what we might call notions rather than storylines Hrabal s greatness did not lay in his ability to craft tightly knotted frameworks of events and conclusions, but in his ability to exquisitely describe the romantic and bewildering interactions of vividly living human beings in intolerable circumstances His stories are marked by wandering narratives, by people reacting instead of acting, by impossible coping mechanisms instilled by even impossible demands Like his sentences, lovely loping things of an almost Faulknerian beauty if Faulkner s metier was industrial Europe after the war instead of the post agricultural American south and possessed a Slavic fatalism instead of a Mississippi melancholy, his stories meander through beautifully delineated places and times, stopping to observe the behavior of the odd characters who find themselves there rather than rush to discover what becomes of them.The title story is the collection s most romantic and inspiring, a virtual love letter to Prague by a man who never fell out of love with it even when it turned its back on him, but most of its most successful tales are set in the Poldi Steelworks of Kladno Hrabal himself was a worker there, and most of these stories involve freewheeling encounters with the bizarre assortment of odd characters he ran into as the Communist regime literally liquidated its past in the huge smelters to build a totalitarian future But despite the consequences of disobedience, the constant treat of surveillance and snitching, and the bureaucratic impossibility of true liberation, most of the workers manage to scrape out some degree of happiness and independence Tell me about some of the other times when you were happy, one worker tells his comrade, a hapless ex judge who can t seem to get anything right when he s working on the factory floor.The stories are full of these characters, obsessed with what they used to be and identified with nicknames that suggest both their personalities and the hidden lives they carry around with them the Frenchman, the Dairyman, the Cop, and the Priest the shadowy female convicts, who are sentenced to doing some of the most backbreaking manual labor the rabble rousing crane operator, and the sincere foreman who can t understand why he won t cooperate and stop taking the worker s rights rhetoric of communism seriously These descriptions suggest mere archetypes, but Hrabal manages to make them achingly real, infusing them with desires and histories that flesh them out and bring them depth No matter how the state tries to subsume them into its machinery, he implies, they can never leave behind who they were a fact that is both a lifesaver and a hindrance Into this all comes a documentary film crew, assigned to tell the real story of the steelworkers but, of course, their stories are all too real, and the crew breezily constructs an absurd backdrop of propaganda The workers are forced to coo over a hastily constructed aquarium they are quickly taught recently penned traditional work songs, and they stumble over anticapitalist slogans For their part, they bribe the director for extra sandwiches, ad lib their own lines, and fall victim to their own incompetence This all plays out in a way that seems almost like Soviet magical realism, but bears inescapable marks of not only the satirical humanist poet Hrabal became, but the wickedly absurd surrealist he started out as.Much of what is portrayed in Mr Kafka is the foolish reality of imposing a culture on an existing people from above no matter how restrictive their roles, the people of Hrabal s Prague carry around the comedy and the tragedy of their lives before the cult, and no degree of external tampering can force them into either repressing or correcting their own passions They find ways of expressing themselves even through the maddening fog of industrial efficiencies and state planning, and even their incompetence stands as a sort of beacon of their humanity Like Hrabal s stories, they are shambolic and disorganized and wrapped up in the shortness of their own perspectives but they are human, all too human, and like the poor humans who faced the state in another great Czech writer s work, this is both their triumph and their failure. life, strangely enough, is constantly being reinvented and loved, even though the fruits of a tinfoil brain will be crumpled images and a trampled torso will ooze misery and yet, it is still a beautiful thing when a man abandons dinner menus and calculating machines and his family and goes off to follow a beautiful star life is still magnificent as long as one maintains the illusion that a whole world can be conjured from a tiny patch of earth. containing seven stories written mostly in the 1950s very early in hrabal s writing career , mr kafka and other tales from the time of the cult inzer t na d m, ve kter m u nechci bydlet or want ad for a house i no longer wish to live in was originally published in 1965, the same year closely watched trains first saw print in its native language the style, themes, and quotidian observations that would make the czech master s fiction so beloved are present, albeit in incipient forms set in post war prague, hrabal s stories, as he would do for decades to come, concern the daily lives and happenings of his fellow townsfolk, many of whom spent their labors within the city s factories with characteristic humor, grace, and compassion, hrabal conveys a rich, spirited milieu one often contrasting with the socioeconomic and political climate of the timei ll tell you what i believe in people who wrestle with their fate, said the doctor of philosophy bitterly for me, there s nothing greater than that because ignorance not knowing reigns in my field too the moment a philosopher comes up with a rational explanation of the universe, or of himself, he turns his back on it lao tzu the art of not knowing socrates i know that i know nothing erasmus of rotterdam in praise of folly nicolas of cusa docta ignorantia, learned ignorance and what has our precious twentieth century given us the revolt of the masses and in art we re happily going back to the time of the floodtranslated from the czech by paul wilson havel, kl ma, kvoreck fantastic cover art by portland artist designer dan stiles It s not Too Loud a Solitude Towards the beginning and the end, there are some memorable moments some of that somehow simultaneously cheerful and painful just not quite right eeriness that I was looking forward to when I picked it up But I found it difficult to really get into most of the middle stories it might just be me, but I feel like they would hit a lot harder had they been read in their proper historical political context Not until Beautiful Poldi, the very last part of the book, did I find myself eager to read Had this been my first introduction to Hrabal, though, I m not sure I would have cared enough to look further into his work As it is, they weren t And though these didn t have a truly profound impact on me or anything, I still do want to read of his stuff.