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A Romantic Education

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Golden Prague seemed mostly gray when Patricia Hampl first went there in quest of her Czech heritage. In that bleak time, no one could have predicted the political upheaval awaiting Communist Europe and the city of Kafka and Rilke. Hampl's subsequent memoir, a brilliant evocation of Czech life under socialism, attained the stature of living history, and added to our ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 17th 1999 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1981)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jonathan Hiskes
Dec 30, 2012 Jonathan Hiskes rated it really liked it
I picked this up wanting to learn more about the quarter of my ethnicity that comes from my Czech grandfather (who I never knew except as an infant). A Romantic Education is more ambitious than a musing on ethnic heritage or a travelogue to the Old Country, although it contains both of those things. Hampl sorts through her family's history seeking to understand how memory and history converge, how the personal informs the political, and other weighty philosophical questions embedded in her ...more
Sep 07, 2014 Spencer rated it it was ok
This my first reading of a memoir. It strikes me as a bit like reading someone's journal or diary; it is a very personal story. And as Hampl points out, in borders on fiction in that the memories are impossible to verify, nevertheless they are accurate from the writer's point of view.
Though there were numerous clichéd references to food, flowers, and TV shows, most of her "memory joggers" are highly personal and unique to her upbringing, family, and community. I enjoyed her recollection of her
Steve Turtell
Apr 02, 2012 Steve Turtell rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book, a combination memoir, travelogue, and cultural investigation of the author's European roots, mostly in Eastern Europe and the former Czechslovakia. I'm sorry I only came upon it years after its original publication in 1981 (and republication-I just read the new edition with an extensive Afterword, bring the reader up to date on her experiences in the new Czech republic ten years after the Velvet Revolution. The best parts are in the last third of the book, which all ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Leda rated it liked it
Hampl is a fluid and beautiful writer, although she has a tendency to lapse into philosophizing that I found really annoying. I enjoyed the book, but also felt it lacked some sense of spirit - like she was too much in her own head the whole time. Also, she uses the word "elegy," or variations thereof far too often. I once counted four instances all on the same (short) page.
Jan 17, 2015 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, czech
Well that was delightful; like sitting down over coffee with a kindred spirit to discuss our shared experiences and interests.

There are too few reviews here, so I may write more, but not today.
Nov 13, 2016 Cara rated it really liked it
MFA. Beautiful writing. Lots to think about.
Apr 09, 2012 Chrissy marked it as to-read
just started reading... I was crying in the first 10 pages after reading a passage about crying...this book explores memory in a way that is meaningful to me right now... that's all I have to say about that.

Okay- clearly I'm not up to reading this since I haven't touched it since I wrote this... save for another day.
Jan 23, 2010 MaryJane rated it really liked it
This is another memoir by Patricia Hampl. This time remembering her Czeck grandmother, and her travels in Czecoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic. Again, her writing is beautiful, her discussions of poetry sometimes more than I would want, but overall a good read.
Mar 13, 2015 Diana rated it liked it
How many times does one say this--needed a good editor!! Or maybe would have been better as a short story or series of essays. It was a good book, but went around and around a subject so many times, even returning to it in later chapters. It did make me want to travel to Europe!
Jun 05, 2016 Geno rated it really liked it
I love to read very good writing - this is a prime example. Deep, personal, richly textured, and very relatable.
Jim Seitz
Apr 05, 2013 Jim Seitz rated it really liked it
A marvelous memoir. The opening chapters are among the best I've read that portray a child's relationship to family, place, and culture. Hampl writes like a dream.
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Jul 31, 2009
Jessica Star
Jessica Star rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2007
Thentrisius King of Dwarves
Thentrisius King of Dwarves rated it it was amazing
Oct 05, 2007
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Jun 18, 2013
Sara rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2009
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Liz Williams rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2012
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Goodreads Librari...: Add book cover for separate edition 2 14 Aug 02, 2014 11:17AM  
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Patricia Hampl’s most recent book is The Florist’s Daughter, winner of numerous “best” and “year end” awards, including the New York Times “100 Notable Books of the Year” and the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir and Creative Nonfiction. Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime, published in 2006 and now in paperback, was also one of the Times Notable Books; a portion was chosen for The Best ...more
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