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, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 151238103
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0151238103
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110151238103
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New item. Bookseller Inventory # QX-007-30-1596101
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97801512381011.0