Maureen's Reviews > The Good Soldier Svejk

The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek
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's review
Jul 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: maciej-recommends
Read in July, 2010

Very much like a Czech Catch-22, full of incompetent (here Hapsburg) officers, stupid military rules, and casual violence as the fool/genius Svejk gets drafted and slowly misadventures to the Eastern Front. Also like Catch-22, there are too many characters, and the absurdist tone starts out entertaining but grows tiresome. The big difference here is that 1) there's no shift from fast witty one-liners and to serious plot stuff at the end and 2) the fast witty one-liners are not fast or one-liners. The translator had a nice note at the beginning where he explains how much is lost going to English- apparently our range of expletives pales in comparison to Czech- but that doesn't change the fact that to English speakers, most of the 700+ page book is pretty tedious. Unless you're looking for primary source documents from the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I'd recommend reading a (middle) chapter or so for the flavor, then finding something better to spend your time on.

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