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A Bohemian Youth
by Josef Hirsal
translated by Michael Henry Heim
Northwestern University Press, 1997
Paper: 978-0-8101-1592-7 | Cloth: 978-0-8101-1223-0
Library of Congress Classification PG5038.H525P5713 1997
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.86354

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Winner, 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.

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