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The Garden Party and Other Plays

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  315 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Gathered together here for the first time are seven plays that span Havel's career from his early days at the Theater of the Balustrade through the Prague Spring, Charter 77, and the repeated imprisonments that made Havel's name into a rallying cry and propelled him to the leadership of his country. They include The Garden Party, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published January 18th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1994)
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Hrdý Budžes by Irena DouskováThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan KunderaOněgin byl Rusák by Irena DouskováHovno hoří by Petr ŠabachThe Garden Party and Other Plays by Václav Havel
World of Czech Communist Era
5th out of 11 books — 4 voters
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21st out of 36 books — 8 voters


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Community Reviews

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Denisa
A book that was given to me as a present by one of dearest mentors in high school, my public speaking coach who wrote a dedication on the first page saying "It's time to stop fooling myself: smart books belong with smart people." So, taking my mentor's word for it, I assumed that this would be a smart book (one which a smart person like myself could handle) and I embarked on a voyage that took me along unexpected paths, surprise twists and turns, all the while, keeping the Northern Star in sight ...more
Antonomasia
Started for this book group.

All unquestionably interesting as historical artefacts, as drama some of Vaclav Havel's plays have aged better than others. In general, Theatre of the Absurd appears very unfashionable at the moment and it's a rare sighting except at large festivals like Edinburgh.

Reading these plays outside academia, there are few resources: the odd article on Havel, occasional reviews of performances, but films or detailed commentary are absent. This edition has no introduction nor
...more
Gary
I didn't like this book of plays until I understood something after the last play. That is, suffering is not a normal thing. It takes a person or entity to subject someone to it. Vaclav Havel was a revolutionary of sorts and his suffering did not go in vain. His plays reflect a kind of catharsis of reasonable rational behavior to an insufferable enemy. The pain inflicted on the Eastern block countries was a human tragedy. No less than Hitler's Germany and the sufferings of the Israelites in Baby ...more
Natalie
There are some who say that Havel's plays have aged poorly, and now lack a power they formerly had. While it's true that Havel's work is clearly shaped by a specific period and context, his plays are not any worse for it; they touch on a series of more universal themes and messages, and it is still possible for a modern audience to find the humour and wit in Havel's work. Certainly, Havel's ability to manipulate and play with language is something which enriches these plays, and makes them worth ...more
Acacia
Everyone should read some Havel.
kat
I found the earlier two plays (The Garden Party and The Memorandum) boring at best and incomprehensible at worst; however, I'm glad I stuck with it, as The Increased Difficulty of Concentration was good, and the loosely-connected trilogy of Audience / Unveiling / Protest were really brilliant. I suspect I might have enjoyed these more if I had a better understanding of the political context and subtleties.
Bill
I kinda devoured this. I forget how much I enjoy reading plays, and Havel has a sharp wit and flair for dialogue. Good stuff. It's sort of a wonder he was able to pull off this kind of socially perceptive and critical work under the shadow of the Soviet regime. I guess that whole 'genius' tag is really appropriate here.
Letitia
Havel's ability to find humor and satire in the simplest things (ie Memorandum) is delightful. His life story is so unique. How many playwrights got elected president of the country where they spent so many years as a dissident? Interesting man, interesting work.
Alice
If you're interested in the Czechoslovakia during the communist era, these plays are intriguing. I liked reading the artistic work of one of my favorite statesmen, but I still find it challenging to read plays.
Farsi Zabanam
I was writing my high school senior thesis on Vaclav Havel, so I read this book. It's absolutely fantastic, in my opinion.
Russell
Excellent writing, not used to reading plays but enjoyed it
Adam Šimice
Žabinec bez brčka neusmažíš!
Dane
Very good, very memorable.
Jesse Wolfe 5199
I can't get enough of this.
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Václav Havel was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally. He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the free ...more
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