By Josef Hirsal
Winner of the 1998 PEN middle united states West Award for translation
Josef Hirsal's experimental novel is a Dada-like romp throughout the lifetime of a tender guy born right into a Bohemian peasant kinfolk. instructed in 5 components, A Bohemian adolescence starts with a observe to the clever, strikes directly to the textual content, maintains with notes and with notes to the observe, and ends with a notice at the notes to the notes.
More than simply a tongue-in-cheek parody of a literary memoir, A Bohemian adolescence is a glimpse of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic as visible throughout the eyes of a tender peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant lady, the behavior of town gay, the sounds of well known song; the way in which humans consume in wartime--Hirsal's novel is a wrenching and hilarious story of a tender man's emotional and sexual awakening.
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Extra info for A Bohemian Youth (Writings from an Unbound Europe)
The essentials remained veiled in secrecy until I discovered three tomes on the book shelf. 1 It featured reproductions of the naked beauties of various nations: female form against a red background, female form against a blue back ground, female form against a yellow, purple, green, or orange background. I later learned from an issue of Novy lid (The New People)2 that the bulk of the publisher’s subscribers consisted of Roman Catholic priests. The second book was The Young Mother and had clearly made its appearance in the family just prior to my birth.
He liked to travel, and in 1910 visited Kyjov in Moravian Slo vakia, where he had a picture taken of himself and a young lady wearing folk costumes. We had the picture in our album. He also brought his sisters presents: the chest for my mother, and for my Aunt Ruzenka, the third of the Vydra sisters (she died in the autumn of 1920, shortly after my birth, of consumption), a richly embroidered Kyjov folk costume. She apparently wore it often at patriotic and Sokol events. 2. Moravec, who was a watchmaker as well, kept shop in the arcade on Jicm’s main square.
Some of the home-smokers pickled the meat, that is, they added water to the vat and let the meat stand for, say, another three months. We found that dis gusting. We smoked our meat at the municipal smoking chamber. Once the smoking process was over, we carved it into pieces and hung it to dry from a beam in the attic. A hog lasted nearly a year, until the time came to slaughter another. I couldn’t resist going at it with my pocketknife on the sly. I left the fat and took only lean pieces. Even though I was given a sound thrashing each time, my innate glut tony continued to get the better of me.