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Povestiri din Malá Strana

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,914 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Volumul Povestiri din Malá Strana, apărut în 1878, este o construcţie caleidoscopică, alcătuită din treisprezece povestiri la prima vedere fără legătură, cu personaje care migrează dintr-o povestire într-alta, iar acţiunile unora dintre ele, aparent benigne, au consecinţe nebănuite. Personajul central este, de fapt, cartierul Malá Strana din Praga, un microcosmos cu figuri ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2015 by Curtea Veche (first published 1878)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  1,914 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of great short stories, with humorous and perceptive character studies. The English translation is excellent, making late-nineteenth century Prague come to life for this early-twenty-first century British reader!
Maggie ☘
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I liked some short stories, other ones not so much (the first and last ones for example). I liked how Prague (Malá Strana) connected all of them together. Overall, I liked this compilation, but it didn't entirely work for me, one of the reasons being that some short stories were great to me while others really were not. ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

On a June morning in 1875, the sun is casting its rays on a narrow cobbled street somewhere on the “small side” of Prague (Malá Strana). An old door creaks open, and from inside the house emerges a middle-aged man, a little on the stocky side in his dandyish garb, resting his weight on a polished wooden cane, as he pulls the door shut behind him. He looks up at the cloudless azure sky, his wavy combed-back hair twinkling silvery in the morning light. He runs his hand through his bushy beard
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: czech-literature
I heard that Pablo Neruda the Chilean poet, called himself after Jan Neruda the Czech writer. I can understand why. These tales are full of insight and affectionate observation of the people of the Mala Strana in Prague. It was therefore no surprise to see his portrait on a commemorative plaque on the wall of one of the narrow streets leading up to the castle... or find his grave in the cemetery at Vysherad.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-books
Wonderful book of short stories. Loveliest stories that underscore the reason why I like books of this genre and of authors of his time and place. His writing displays the right pace and keeps apt mood that thrills the reader anytime. Words are like morning dew melting into earth's lap, so silent and soft that you only cherish the glitter in its passing one after another. No more words from me, lest it should distort any better impression on the purity of his work! ...more
Same deal as with Capek's Tale from Two Pockets, good writer with the bias of his place and time (misogyny and Antisemitism.) ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful book of Czech short stories, Prague Tales by Jan Neruda takes a look at a neighborhood of Prague in which the author lived. In many ways, it is an Eastern European version of Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz, except with more interesting characters.

My favorite sketch, "Figures," is a hundred pages long. It concentrates on the troubles a young law student has in studying for the bar while being distracted by love, an odd duel, neighbors, the local pub, and just about everything els
Kai Weber
There's probably too much stasis, too much pure description in this book to deserve the title "povídky" (narrations, stories), but that doesn't matter: Those images of young and old people inhabiting mid-19th-century Prague and their struggles around the great topics of life - love and death - is wonderful in its very own way of a bleak tragicomedy. I couldn't sum it up better than the postface of this edition does, so if you get this wonderfully illustrated book into your hands and doubt if it' ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a little difficult to read the book because of old language. Nice person's portraits, and I like how old places in Prague were ideated. ...more
I admit to being a little disappointed by these stories. They reminded me a little of Zola crossed with Mrs. Gaskell. The short stories were nearly all character sketches. The shortest sketches I think I liked the most. There were a few truly beautiful ones, some nice tragedies and a few just kinda silly. The longer stories seemed to mock the people in them just a little too much (including the narrator). I'm wondering if perhaps things were lost a little in the translation. It was interesting t ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan Neruda is a good observer of the everyday life and he can make a profit of his gift. This collection of stories takes us to the XIXth Century Prague and show a series of very particular characters an situations. The autor has a very pointillous style, often comic, and most of the stories (the shorter the better) are great, I could not stand the last part which is a novella and takes almost half of the book, because, it was the one that took me most to read, maybe it was its autobiographic to ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't really get into the first short story. I skiped it and read it as the last one. I'm really happy that I made that decision and manage to read the whole book eventually. It was definitely worth it, I have an idea how it was to live Prague in 1850's and Neruda is just perfect! His realistic style which reflects what social staus people belong to in the way they speak is truly impressive. It is also interesting to see people's nationalism and antisemtism and how common it was those days. ...more
"God only knows how many times Matylda has embroidered monograms on shirts and linens, always for a different bridegroom, and how many times she has been taking up the stitches again," remarked Miss Marie while straightening out her cape. "And perhaps she will be forever unstitching!" ...more
Dana Păduraru
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
bitter-sweet stories that did not really touch me
Joel Wakefield
I read this in preparation for a trip to Prague. Neruda lived in Mala Strana in the mid 1800s and his work was largely a chronicle of day-to-day life, with this set of stories set in Mala Strana itself. That part of Prague bears little resemblance to neighborhood he discusses in the short stories in this book, as it has cleaned up quite a bit and is no longer the poor/lower middle class area that it was in the mid-1800s when he wrote about it. In addition, his work really was observational, rath ...more
Corinne Edwards
Jan Neruda, the author of this collection, is a big thing in the Czech Republic. A street in the Mala Strana (lesser town) area of Prague is named after him because of the kinds of stories that are included in this collection. Jan is a noticer of people - small details in small lives are at the crux of these stories. Some in first person, some in third, they are all about individuals and the minutiae of daily living. Shopkeepers, students, grocers and, especially, landlords and tenants and barke ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: czech, stories
“I’ll move to Malá Strana! Serene, poetic Malá Strana. Nice quiet neighbours off in their nooks and crannies. Yes, for my new exalted state of mind poetic surroundings are absolutely essential. It will be lovely! A quiet house, an airy flat, a view of dreamy Petřín Hill and a tranquil garden.”

For the sake of my Czech heritage, I wanted to love this huge classic of Bohemian literature. My family still lives in Malá Strana and I was hoping to encounter in those pages the feeling of so many summers
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My thoughts:

1. As it is with every short story collection that I have read, I enjoy some of the stories and some of them remain okayish. It was also the case with this collection. I loved some of the portrait-narratives that depicted the famous Prague's quarter and its inhabitants, but I also had to force myself to finish some of them.
2. I have been to Prague many times now, but after reading this I plan to go there and explore Malá Strana just for the sake of thinking about and imagining its st
Sara Tusek
a classic collection of short vignettes about life in Prague in the 19th century. Most of these sketches are in Mala Strana, the "little quarter" where artists and kings live and work. It's a good book for people wanting to know what Prague was like in the past, in a nostalgic way. ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling and really engaging.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got a tiny review up; it follows Lower Ed on this post: ...more
Chris Amies
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of stories by the original Neruda (not the Chilean who borrowed his name). Charming and nostalgic for a world that even then was disappearing.
Marshall Johnson
An interesting example of mid-nineteen century Czech literature.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection presents the reader with a series of tales, told in a slice of life fashion. An interesting ensemble of human grotesques, not unlike Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio but set in Prague. You may ask how can this be compared with Winesburg, Ohio and only receive three stars? It's rife with casual antisemitism and women are described as objects of the male gaze without any agency, or when given character at all, represented as cloying or avaracious. And if you think that I am unfairly judg ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since my passport cannot take me places around the world, reading can.

Voice of author is melodic. The characters are stuck in Edwardian-like constructs of behavior, hence their POV can be frustrating. I trust that Neruda captured the mores of the near-do-wells, newly fallen, and aspirational classes on the lesser side of the St Charles River.
Karla Huebner
It took me awhile to get around to reading this, perhaps because the book looks longer than it actually is (thick pages). However, it proved a good choice to read while traveling, for the obvious reason that one can read a story here and there.

The tales have a quiet 19th-century charm, with their minute observation of Prague characters and their states of mind. At the same time, I found some of them surprisingly hard to follow, especially the opening novella, which had numerous characters and di
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This book took a long time to get through but only because I wanted to read it slowly and savor it. It is a collection of something called feuilletons, defined on the back cover as vivid sketches on the border between journalism and fiction. Neruda (1834-1891) sketched life in Mala Strana, the Little Quarter of Prague in the nineteenth century. They were stories of ordinary people doing ordinary things; the stories picked up and left off quietly just as ordinary life does. According to the inter ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: easy-reading
I bought this book because Prague is my favorite city and I wanted to go back, even if only in my reader's imagination. Neruda has a subtle humor and paints a vivid image of the Mala Strana. The reader is brought inside; so, I walked along the Mostecka, I leaned from the balcony, I stepped inside the shops, I glanced up at Prazsky Hrad, I talked to the people and let them become a part of my life as I morphed into a background character myself. It was almost as if I were reading pages out of an ...more
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Mr. Kovach
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Favorite book of the year, very enjoyable little stories about Prague residents in the 1800s, kinda like Winesburg, Ohio about midwesterners (which was depressing and I hated) and Dubliners (which I loved and which proved Joyce could write with brilliant clarity) or Wyoming Stories (which was depressing but I like most everything Annie Proulx). Prague Tales was a topical impulse buy since I was standing in a Prague bookstore at the time, but one of my favorite books in a long time, what a lucky ...more
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Jan Nepomuk Neruda was a Czech journalist, writer and poet, one of the most prominent representatives of Czech Realism and a member of "the May school". ...more

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