- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Abacus (5 April 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349101256
- ISBN-13: 978-0349101255
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Closely Observed Trains (Abacus Books) Paperback – 5 Apr 1990
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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)
*The greatest novel by one of the greatest of all Czech writers.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a beautiful story, beautifully told.
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 ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
as charming, original and funny as the film adaption; I recommend you discover this writerPublished 5 months ago by Scott Baker
This is a laconic piece - a must for Hrabal enthusiasts - if you've seen the film, or if you haven't!Published on 15 Nov. 2010 by Mike