Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy Memories to a Muse, 9 Feb. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka (Paperback)
For those who have read and enjoyed Hrabal's 'Closely Observed Trains', 'I Served The King Of England' or 'Too Loud A Solitude', this book is compulsory reading which gives a great insight to the Czech author. For those who do not know Hrabal's books it serves as a good introduction.
In 1989 an American student in Prague went to the Golden Tiger pub to find Bohumil Hrabal. Her name was April Gifford and she was to become his muse in the last decade. He called her Dubenka, Duben being Czech for the month April.
Hrabal wrote what are really memoirs in the form of letters to Dubenka, and Total Fears are just a selection chosen by translator, James Naughton.
The 'letters' are sometimes funny, more often sad but always moving. They show Hrabal's sheer humanity and his love of culture and philosophy.
Considering that Hrabal experienced the Nazi occupation of Prague in 1939, followed by the Soviet invasion in 1968 and finally the Velvet Revolution of 1989 he had good enough reason to be emotional. He covers all these experiences in the book.
But he also writes about his visits to the Russian and Slavic (read Czech) departments in both Britain and the United States.(Hrabal calls it the Delighted States due to an error made in Dubenka's Czech).
I particularly like these letters as Hrabal describes London from a red bus and tells of his search for T.S. Eliot landmarks.
Likewise in New York he visits the bar where Dylan Thomas drank.
Throughout the book he mentions the artistic, literary and philosophical masters of the 20th century, but being close to ordinary people, he still finds time to mention the maid in his hotel.
Bohumil Hrabal may not be as well known as Thomas, Eliot or James Joyce, all of whom he admired, but he is justified to be reckoned a major European writer of the 20th century. He died in 1997, falling from the fifth floor of a Prague hospital. He had been leaning out, trying to feed the pigeons.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A touching journey into the mind of a great writer, 3 Sept. 2012
By 
T. Hodgson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka (Paperback)
Of the twentieth century Czech novelists Bohumil Hrabal is perhaps one of the best loved domestically and the least well known internationally. Perhaps somewhat in the shadow of names such as Kundera, Hasek, Skvorecky or even HAvel. Hrabal's work has gained better exposure in the form of films, especially those of the CZech New Wave director Jiri Menzel.

I guess people wont have come to this book unless they have enjoyed one or more of Hrabal's literary works. Written in the same sympathetic, ironic, and lyrical style, this book takes the form of a series of correspondence which Hrabal writes to his 'muse' late in life. She was an American student called April Gifford who went in search of Hrabal in 1989. The book provides a wonderful insight into the often sad mind of an author who saw the transformation of his country througout the years of fascism, communism, and democracy.

What makes this book particularily good is the way in which you feel that the author, after decades of existing in a 'grey zone' between the politically dissident and the officially sanctioned, is able to express his feelings about a range of subjects. He covers a variety of topics including his travels abroad, literature, philosophy, history and personal anecdotes in an accessible and always entertaining manner. Hrabal's work always seems to be focused on the 'little people', the average person whose petty trials and tribulations, loves and losses are treated with the deepest respect. This comes across fantastically in this book.

If you are interested in the author, and don't mind the brevity of his work, I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy in this title.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 23 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka (Paperback)
Having read Closely Observed Trains I was fascinated by the author and wanted to know more about him. I have just started reading this book and can instantly feel that he was a very lovely human being. A rarity but they do exist. I sometimes think that the more sensitive and intelligent a person is the sadder they are - Hrabal certainly appears in that category. I will read his other works with respect.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka
Total Fears: Selected Letters to Dubenka by Bohumil Hrabal (Paperback - 1 Jan. 1990)
£10.00
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews