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Copyright 1964 Bohumil Hrabal. Translated from the Czech in by Michael Henry Heim. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995.

This stream of consciousness tale explores the philosophical, theoretical and revolutionary concepts of Czech author Bohumil Hrabal. An elderly, inebriated man, stops on the street to talk to six young beauties telling them a story - through a tirade of tangent;
history, love, war, sex, the story of his life, an obsession with suicide by hanging, becoming a hero.

Not a period, or chapter, or quotation mark in the book. The story flows. Mr. Hrabal's pain is felt, heard. The craft of writing is explored, created in this short novel. The humor is outrageous and the seriousness of punch lines made me swallow hard.

which must be why Bondy the poet says that real poetry must hurt, as if you'd forgotten you wrapped a razor blade in your handkerchief and you blow your nose, no book worth its salt is meant to put you to sleep, it's meant to make you jump out of bed in your underwear and run and beat the author's brains out,...p 33

The novel also explores a connection with dreams and the old man's reference to a dream book in times of recollection of love. He considers himself a hero when completing extraordinary feats and brags about his exploits to the girls. These lovely visions are too often accompanied by thoughts and memories of suicide by hanging and this obsession of Mr. Hrabal becomes overwhelming.

A fun, short read.

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