May 29, 09
Read in May, 2009
It's difficult to label Hrabel's "I Served the King of England". Is it a surrealistic farce? The mid-20th century history of the Czech Republic? A dark parody of Horatio Alger stories?
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 populated with delightfully eccentric characters, whose stories and aspirations have as profound and influence on Jan Ditie as his country's regieme changes.