John Brooks's Reviews > Too Loud a Solitude

Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal
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Nov 14, 2007

it was amazing

Here's how the first page reads:
"For thirty-five years now I've been in wastepaper, and it's my love story. For thirty-five years I've been compacting wastepaper and books, smearing myself with letters until I've come to look like my encyclopedias-and a good three tons of them I've compacted over the years. I am a jug filled with water both magic and plain; I have only to lean over and a stream of beautiful thoughts flows out of me. My education has been so unwitting I can't quite tell which of my thoughts come from me and which from my books, but that's how I've stayed attuned to myself and the world around me for the past thirty-five years.

*Because when I read, I don't really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in my like alchohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing through the veins to the root of each blood vessel"*

The rest of the book, fewer than 100 pages, is like that, too. "Too Loud A Solitude" is a relic from me idealistic intellectual college days when reading things like this seemed important and urgent. Part of the same Czech modernist movement that spawned Kundera, Hrabal rejects the minimalism so rampant among his contemporaties and retains a sense of traditionalism in his poetic and ambitious wordcraft.

This is a text rooted purely in existentialism, but there is a supernatural reverence for the written word within its pages. Ultimately, "Too Loud A Solitude" is as much about the unending human necessity for and adoration of books, arts, information, communication, and love as it is about the dangers of becoming preoccupied with such things. It is a lovingly, poetically written book about the beauty and love of books as well as a sad, raw, surreal warning about what happens when we love the thoughts and lives of others so much that we forget to live and love our own lives.

And in spite of its weighty philisophical bent that belongs purely to an incarnation of me that existed 7 years ago, I still can't help but sink my heart into the words of this one and sing its praises as I smile down the sidewalk.
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Sagahigan A lovingly, poetically, beautifully written piece of review. Thank you!

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