Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Closely Observed Trains (... has been added to your Basket
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book is in good condition and fulfilled by Amazon which means it is eligible for Amazon Prime. The book itself may have been used before but will be largely free of stains and markings. Textbooks may have slight highlighting. Corners may be slightly bent and spine may be creased but overall in solid condition with money back guarantee.
Trade in your item
Get a £0.34
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) Paperback – 5 Apr 1990


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.99
£3.54 £0.01
£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) + Too Loud A Solitude + I Served The King Of England: Featuring an introduction by Adam Thirlwell (Vintage Classics)
Price For All Three: £26.16

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £0.34
Trade in Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.34, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (5 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349101256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349101255
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

A superb writer (Julian Barnes)

A poignant, humorous tale (NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW)

One of the most authentic incarnations of magical Prague; an incredible union of earthy humour and baroque imagination ... What is unique about Hrabal is his capacity for joy (MILAN KUNDERA)

Book Description

*The greatest novel by one of the greatest of all Czech writers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DelWij VINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
In spite of their brevity, I think that Bohumil Hrabal's books are deeply beautiful. There are numerous reasons for this relating to the clear, concise and almost poetic nature of his prose, but I think that the main reason is that his books reflect an outlook or an attitude towards life that revels in the simple and profound beauty of human idiosyncracy.
I've heard it said that some believe Hrabal's books to be untranslatable - so I can only imagine what it must be like reading them in Czech!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By pavlena_yevdokimova@hotmail.com on 11 July 2001
Format: Paperback
It is hard to think of anywhere in literature where there is a hero more astonishing- or more innocent- than Milos Hrma. In a world where innocent pleasures are set against a backdrop of appalling brutality, young Milos survives- albeit reluctantly- by the purity with which he lives. While his employer, Station Master Lansky, an apparently comic figure, rings the necks of his Nuremburg doves in response to German massacres of the Poles, Milos drifts through several profound rites of passage without even noticing them. This is Hrabal at his best: capturing the universal through the specific, showing the terrible with great innocence. A book that leaves you feeling you've lived a life.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J C E Hitchcock on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Hrabal's short novella "Closely Observed Trains" is set in a railway station in a small town in Czechoslovakia in the winter of 1945. Although the war is coming to an end, the country is still under German occupation, and the book's title refers to the special military trains which need to be kept under close guard as they travel to the front.

The central character, Milos Hrma, is a young apprentice traffic controller, and the opening scenes of the book tend towards the comic, as Milos describes the attempts of his colleagues to get on with their everyday lives, seemingly oblivious to the historic events taking place around them. Milos's boss, Station-Master Lansky, is a ridiculous figure, obsessed with promoting himself both in the social hierarchy (he lays claim to aristocratic lineage) and in the hierarchy of the Czech railway system. Despite his eagerness for promotion, however, he pays more attention to his hobby of pigeon breeding than he does to the requirements of his job. Lansky's subordinate, Dispatcher Hubicka, is equally neglectful of his duties, although his main obsession is pursuing women; he is facing disciplinary proceedings for the offence of misusing Government property by using the station's official stamps to decorate the backside of an attractive young female telegraphist.

As the story progresses, it takes on a darker tone. We learn that Milos has recently returned to work after three months in hospital following an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. The cause of this attempt was depression brought on by impotence and his inability to consummate his relationship with his girlfriend.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 July 2004
Format: Paperback
Bohumil Hrabal's Closely Observed Trains is a beautiful book whose lingering impact on the reader is greater than one would suspect from looking at its slight length. It is the story of a young man, Milos Hrma, an apprentice signalman in a Czech village railway station during WWII. The term closely "watched trains" refers to German military (soldiers, prisoners, and munitions) trains that must be watched, tracked closely to ensure a smooth passage. Failure results in close (and often deadly) scrutiny by the Gestapo. As the story it unfolds that young Milos had recently attempted suicide after his first sexual experience ends disastrously. The scars on his wrist reflect the internal scars and humiliation suffered as a result of his sexual failure. The rest of the book focuses on his desire to achieve manhood, by means of a successful sexual conquest or through some "other" means. Milos' quest is ultimately successful yet with tragic consequences. An act of simple heroism marks the story's climax. Along the way Milos has a near fatal encounter with a Gestapo officer after an incident involving a closely watched train. The understated description of this encounter is a brilliant piece of writing as the officer and Milos closely watch each other's scars before the officer decides to spare his life. The above summary does not do justice to the concise, sparse tone of Hrabal's prose that conveys great depths of meaning in the course of the story's simple narrative.
This is a beautiful story, beautifully told.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
This book was a Round the World Book Group Selection. I didn't try to define Hrabal as being either Czech or Slovak since the book was written before they went their separate ways, and the events take place in what was then Czechoslovakia. The great unanswered question for me is "Does the narrator die on the last page or not?" This book shows the ultimate futility and waste of war in many places, of which one is in the approach of the narrator to the dying German, even though he ends up killing him. There is a comic scene with the pigeons while the stationmaster is telling the story of the stamps, and then with the countess. There is the stated, closely observed, horror of the beasts in the wagons, in comparison with the unstated horror of the forced starvation of those from whom they were stolen. This was a deliberate policy, and there was no attempt to ensure that the beasts reached slaughter in a state fit to eat. Dresden fire bombing etc. Watch the film if you get the chance.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Look for similar items by category


Feedback