An NU Press Title
4 3/4 x 8, 85 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8101-1223-0 / $50.95
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Bohemian Youth, A
Winner of the 1998 PEN Center USA West Award for translation.
Josef Hirsal's experimental novel is a Dada-like romp through the life of a young man born into a Bohemian peasant family. Told in five parts, A Bohemian Youth begins with a word to the wise, moves on to the text, continues with notes and with notes to the note, and ends with a note on the notes to the notes.
More than just a tongue-in-cheek parody of a literary memoir, A Bohemian Youth is a glimpse of the First Czechoslovak Republic as seen through the eyes of a young peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant girl, the habits of the town homosexual, the sounds of popular music; the way people eat in wartime--Hirsal's novel is a wrenching and hilarious tale of a young man's emotional and sexual awakening.
"More than just a tongue- in-cheek parody of a literary memoir . . . it is a social history of the first rank . . ." --Translation Review
". . . That rare postmodern experiment which actually remembers to tell a story . . . a splendidly original achievement." --The New Yorker
"An inventive and clever parody of the coming-of-age tale . . . the result is nostalgic, agreeably sexy, and quite charming." --Kirkus