Vita Nuova is the second in a trilogy of memoirs written from the perspective
of Bohumil Hrabal’s wife, Elis.ka, about their life in Prague
from the 1950s to the 1970s, when Communist repression of artists was
at its peak.
Hrabal’s inimitable humor, which in Elis.ka’s ruminations ranges
from bawdy slapstick to cutting irony, is all the more penetrating for
being directed at himself. Vita Nuova showcases Hrabal’s legendary
bohemian intellectual life, particularly his relationship with Vladimír
Boudník. Hrabal creates a shrewd, lively portrait of Eastern European
intellectual life in the mid-twentieth century.
“That trilogy of mine has to thank for its style and its content Mrs. tolstoy and Mrs. Dostoevsky,
whose biographies about their husbands have now been published in Prague, and in these
books, they praise their husbands so much that I told myself to write my autobiography through
the prism of my wife’s view . . .” —Bohumil hrabal