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Vita Nuova: A Novel (Writings from an Unbound Europe) Paperback – May 29, 2010


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Vita Nuova: A Novel (Writings from an Unbound Europe) + Gaps: A Novel (Writings from an Unbound Europe) + In-House Weddings (Writings from an Unbound Europe)
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Product Details

  • Series: Writings from an Unbound Europe
  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (May 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810125463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810125469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: Czech --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bohumil hrabal (1914–97) is considered, along with Karel C.apek and Milan Kundera,

to be one of the great Czech writers of the twentieth century. He won international

acclaim for the novels Closely Watched Trains (Northwestern, 1995), Too Loud a Solitude

(1992), and I Served the King of England (1989).

 

Tony Liman was born in Czechoslovakia in 1966 and grew up in Toronto. He received

his M.F.A. from the University of British Columbia. He is a writer and translator, and

his fiction has appeared in several Canadian literary journals. Liman lives in Vancouver,

British Columbia.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roman Tsivkin on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Vita Nuova, the second book of an autobiographical trilogy (the first is called In-House Weddings, the third volume, Gaps, is due out sometime around June 2011), recounts Bohumil Hrabal's (1914-1997) life in Prague in the 1950s-'70s or thereabout. Though a natural writer -- the stuff just "flows" from him -- the book showcases his struggles at accepting himself as an artist, and there are some tragicomic scenes where his poet friends chide him for not writing even though he is well into his 40s. The book is written from the perspective of Hrabal's wife, Eliska, nicknamed Pipsi (sorry, I'm not putting any Czech diacritics in the names -- then again, neither does Hrabal as described in Vita Nuova, when he types furiously -- usually on the roof of his house -- on a German typewriter with no diacritics).

Hrabal is never named in the book -- it is ostensibly a novel, not an autobiography. Pipsi refers to him as "my husband," and his friends call him "the doctor" on account of the law degree he received prior to WWII. The war, of course, figures prominently here, though only as a shell-shocked echo in the lives of Pipsi and the doctor. However, the book never descends into grimness or bitterness, as the doctor is full of zest for life, an elemental creature that's half man, half child. Hrabal's genius is picking his wife as the narrator -- this gives him the opportunity to really look at himself from an ironic distance, and his love of water, fire and beer, his moodiness, his habit of proclaiming bawdy stories loudly while in public, his constant pub-goings and other quirks of character are all related through his wife's by turn adulatory, loving, horrified, ashamed, disgusted, forgiving voice. Think of Molly Bloom at the end of Ulysses, but funnier and more coherent.
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