Are you a fellow bookworm traveling to the Czech Republic soon? You might wanna read these 5 books about Czech Republic before visiting.
The Good Soldier Svejk (Jaroslav Hasek)
The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Jaroslav Hašek’s black satire The Good Soldier Švejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics.
Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army’s most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War – although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Švejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers who chivvy him towards battle. The story of a ‘little man’ caught in a vast bureaucratic machine, The Good Soldier Švejk combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.
Cecil Parrott’s vibrant, unabridged and unbowdlerized translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Hašek’s turbulent life as an anarchist, communist and vagranty, and the Everyman character of Švejk. This edition also includes a guide to Czech names, maps and original illustrations by Josef Ladas.
Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names.
Description of a Struggle (Franz Kafka)
Description of a Struggle is a three-part story written by Franz Kafka between 1903 and 1907. It constitutes his oldest surviving work and was only published after his death. The first and third sections describe Prague society- and night-life from the point of view of the author and his acquaintance. The central section can be viewed as a fantastical dream sequence divided into several sub-sections.
I Served the King of England (Bahumil Hrabal)
Sparkling with comic genius and narrative exuberance, I Served the King of England is a story of how the unbelievable came true. Its remarkable hero, Ditie, is a hotel waiter who rises to become a millionaire and then loses it all again against the backdrop of events in Prague from the German invasion to the victory of Communism. Ditie’s fantastic journey intertwines the political and the personal in a narrative that both enlightens and entertains.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera)
In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover. This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places, brilliant and playful reflections, and a variety of styles, to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers.
Love and Garbage (Ivan Klima)
The narrator of Love and Garbage has temporarily abandoned his work-in-progress – an essay on Kafka – and exchanged his writer’s pen for the orange vest of a Prague road-sweeper. As he works, he meditates on Czechoslovakia, on Kafka, on life, on art and, obsessively, on his passionate and adulterous love affair with the sculptress Daria. Gradually he admits the impossibility of being at once an honest writer and an honest lover, and with that agonising discovery comes a moment of choice.