Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále
- Bohumil Hrabal, I Served the King of England (1971).
Hrabal's satirically political, erotically imagined and poignant adventure story follows the rise and fall of a young busboy Ditie (Czech for 'child') who, despite his diminutive stature, possesses big dreams and the determination to become a millionaire to be the equal of everyone else: is influenced by his father's advice to have an aim in life because then he'd ...more
I was actually trying to find another book by Hrabal : Closely Watched Trains , but the library only had this. I'm glad I picked it up, as it was a joy to read from start to finish, and much more serious and thought provoking than the comedy of the first pages let me believe. Probably, the book would not qualify as a 'hidden gem' with a 4+ rating from 4000 votes and an inclusion into one of those '1001 books to read before you die' lists, but I still think it is underappreciated and worthy of ...more
I wasn't quite sure what to make of this novel at first, with its page-long sentences, dearth of female characters and absurdist, fairy-tale undertones. B ...more
Ако можеше да се снима лицето ми от началото до края… От спонтанно хилене, през леко помръкване, до горещи, „дълбоки“ сълзи.
Не е книга, в която четях всеки ред, за да не пропусна нещо от сюжета (в началото си мислех, че може да ми дотегне от чисто ресторантьорски истории и майтапи), а заради плодовитостта на езика (към края обаче се оказа, че именно развитието на героя е най-важното). Тук видях и „най-артистичните“ еротични сцени; „ряпа да ...more
It’s strange because it is the beauty of the language that possesses ...more
This was my ...more
The Globe girl recommended this masterpiece as an alternative. One of those lucky accidents in life! This book makes you realise that Milan Kundera turned into a boring old has-been after his glory days of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Joke. Once you start Hrabal's comic trip through pre-war, Nazi, and communist Prag ...more
Statement 2: There is something about Czech writers. They have this quality as though the writer is talking to you across a table at a boozy café, leaning back in his creaky chair and casually pulling out a yarn so that by the time you leave, you are fully intoxicated and have completely absorbed his story. I like bo ...more
"E l’incredibile che diveniva realtà non mi aveva abbandonato, e io in quell’incredibile ci credevo, in quella sorprendente sorpresa, in quello stupore, era quella la mia buona stella che mi aveva accompagnato per tutta la vita, forse solo per dimostrare a se stessa che da qualche parte l’aspetta sempre qualcosa di sorprendente, e io, col bagliore di quella stella sempre davanti agli occhi, io ci credevo...more
From the back cover of the New Directions edition:
First published in 1971 as a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I served the King of England is a comic novel telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II. Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. It is one of the great moments in his life. Eventually, he f
So Ditie is also a desperate social climber. He waits on people but desires their fancy ties and greatly desires to put on airs in public as they do. There’s a splendid ...more
I came across this book because lately I've been in the mood for reading about disgustingly wealthy people being scandalous drunks and doing dastardly things. Who isn't in the mood for that most of t ...more
It's many things at once. This translation is a lively read capturing Czech humor, and commenting on the absurdities of history, and motivations of both its protagonist and the antagonists. The book follow's Jan Dite's life as he works his way up in hotel restaurants in a quest to be a millionare. The novel is pop ...more
Hrabal received a Law degree from Prague's Charles University, and lived in the city from the late 1940s on.
He worked as a manual laborer alongside Vladimír Boudník in the Kladno ironworks in the 1950s, an experience which inspired the "hyper-realist" texts he was writing at t ...more