MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century

Europeana by Patrik Ouředník
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's review
Aug 26, 14

bookshelves: non-fiction, dalkey-archive, eastern-europe
Read from January 14 to 16, 2011

I'm not as drivellingly crazy about this as most Goodreaders seem to be, but it is a funny and horrifying little mini-history using Czech irony (such a thing exists) to make its impact.

The history isn't presented in any logical order. Some parts juxtapose others, such as the Holocaust next to Bill Clinton's (non-)affair, or Dadaism beside detailed parts on eugenics and so on. The tone is slightly childish, most sentences starting with "and then . . . " as though being narrated by a grownup to a child. We're either encouraged to laugh at the absurdity of the world or see it as one elaborate joke.

The result is a bizarre, funny and shocking (but not entirely useful) book.
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