Rake, drunkard, aesthete, gossip, raconteur extraordinaire: the narrator of Bohumil Hrabal's rambling, rambunctious masterpiece Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is all these and more. Speaking one day to a group of sunbathing women who remind him of lovers past, this elderly roué proceeds to tell the story of his life-or at least to unburden himself of a lifetime's worth of stories. Thus we learn of amatory conquests (and humiliations), of scandals both private and public, of military adventures and domestic feuds, of what things were like "in the days of the monarchy" and how they've changed since. As the book tumbles restlessly forward, and the comic tone takes on darker shadings, we realize we are listening to a man talking as much out of desperation as from exuberance.
Hrabal, one of the great Czech writers of the twentieth century, as well as an inveterate haunter of Prague's pubs and football stadiums, developed a unique method which he termed pabeni (or "palavering"), whereby characters gab and soliloquize with abandon. Part drunken boast, part soul-rending confession, part metaphysical poem on the nature of love and time, this astonishing novel (which unfolds in a single monumental sentence) shows why Milan Kundera called Hrabal "our very best writer today."
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This ebullient, gallivanting novel encapsulates the world vision of the Czech Republic's best-loved author in one tumbling, breathtaking sentence. Saints and sinners, emperors and embezzlers, barmaids and balalaikas all play their part in the bawdy reminiscences of Hrabal's cobbler as he charms an audience of young beauties.Review:
"The beauty of Hrabal's book is how he is able to make this tightly-wound object move...what Hrabal has created is an informal history of the indomitable Czech spirit. And perhaps...the human spirit" ( The Times)
"First-hand experience informs Hrabal's work with a wonderful detail, irascibility and charm" ( Los Angeles Times)
"Hrabal has invented some of the most memorable characters in world literature" ( Los Angeles Times)
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Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0151238103 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW4.0064404
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110151238103
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97801512381011.0
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: An old man, a shoemaker who once wore a pince-nez and carried a stick with a silver mounting because he wanted to look like a composer, tells the story of his life to six youn, beautiful women basking in the sun. One drunken thought triggers another. Amorous conquests alternate with sundry mishaps and in the exuberant telling acquire the same weight and substance as earth-shattering events. To say nothing of the historical perspective, which the self-styled "engineer of human feet" bends at random to suit his mood. Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age displays the inimitable Czech master at his playful best. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0151238103
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0151238103