or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) [Paperback]

Bohumil Hrabal
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
You Save: £1.80 (20%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 10 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Saturday, 19 April? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback £7.19  
Amazon.co.uk Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.

Book Description

5 April 1990 Abacus Books

For gauche young apprentice Milos Hrma, life at the small but strategic railway station in Bohemia in 1945 is full of complex preoccupations. There is the exacting business of dispatching German troop trains to and from the toppling Eastern front; the problem of ridding himself of his burdensome innocence; and the awesome scandal of Dispatcher Hubicka's gross misuse of the station's official stamps upon the telegraphist's anatomy. Beside these, Milos's part in the plan for the ammunition train seems a simple affair.

CLOSELY OBSERVED TRAINS, which became the award-winning Jiri Menzel film of the 'Prague Spring', is a classic of postwar literature, a small masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism which fully justifies Hrabal's reputation as one of the best Czech writers of today.


Frequently Bought Together

Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) + The Little Town Where Time Stood Still + Too Loud A Solitude
Price For All Three: £21.17

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (5 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349101256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349101255
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,029 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:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Moving.......... 22 Feb 2006
By DelWij VINE VOICE
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?
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
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?
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Story 2 July 2004
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine piece of writing and a brave one 7 Nov 2011
By J C E Hitchcock TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
ARRAY(0xa881636c)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback