Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Though overshadowed by his contemporaries, Milan Kundera and Ivan Klima abroad, he is revered in their homeland, the Czech and Slovak Republics. His most significant international acclaim came in 1967 when the film version of his book Closely Watched Trains, won the Academy Award for best foreign language film. Even after translation, his stories possess magical wonder.
When I think of this amazing writer or read his books, I feel a mixture of overwhelming joy and passionate sorrow. His words... of tremendous weight are like hard candy, I just let them rest in my mouth. I suck on them, taste the words like the first drink from a fountain, it is refreshing and cold. The words embroider humorously tragic stories that awaken the senses and soothe the hurt within.
Works by Bohumil Hrabal available in English translation
- "Cutting it Short"/"The Little Town Where Time Stood Still" (trans. James Naughton), Pantheon, 1993, Abascus, 1994
- "Too Loud a Solitude" (trans. Michael Heim), Harcourt Brace, 1990
- "Closely Watched Trains" (trans. Edith Pargeter), Northwestern University Press, 1995
- "Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age" (trans. Michael Heim), Harcourt Brace, 1995
- "I Served the King of England" (trans. Paul Wilson), Harcourt Brace, 1989
- "Death of Mr. Baltisberger" Out of Print
- "Total Fears Letters to Dubenka" TWISI Press, 1998
"Too Loud a Solitude" is my favorite.