Bohumil Hrabal


Bohumil Hrabal is widely regarded as one of the most important Czech writers of the 20th century. His early free-association style stories were collected in Perlička na dně (1963; A Pearl at the Bottom), Pábitelé (1964; Palaverers), and Automat svět (1966; The Death of Mr. Baltisberger). And following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, his novels were banned (even after printing) and his work appeared in samizdat publications. His work was often experimental; in Tanečni hodiny pro starší a pokrocǐilé (1964; Dancing Lessons for Seniors and the Advanced), an elderly man tells his life story in one 90-page, unfinished sentence. But his best-known work is the more conventional novel Ostře sledované vlaky (1964; Closely Watched Trains), in which a youth’s comic problems end with heroic martyrdom, subsequently adapted  by Hrabel hismelf for the screen, winning the 1967 Oscar for best foreign film.

Books by Bohumil Hrabal