A Bohemian Youth

Cloth Text – $50.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1223-0

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1592-7
Publication Date
December 1997
Page Count
85 pages
Trim Size
4 3/4 x 8
ISBN
0-8101-1592-1

A Bohemian Youth

Josef Hirsal

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.


About the Author

Josef Hiršal was born in 1920 in Chomuticky in northeastern Bohemia. He became known in the 1960s as a poet and translator and was blacklisted after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He now lives in Prague.

Michael Henry Heim was a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at UCLA. His translations of Dubravka Ugrešic's Fording the Stream of Consciousness and Felix Roziner's A Certain Finkelmeyer have also been published by Northwestern University Press.
Reviews
"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 Reviews