All My Cats

Nonfiction by Bohumil Hrabal

Translated by Paul Wilson

In the autumn of 1965, flush with the unexpected success of his first published books, the Czech author Bohumil Hrabal bought a weekend cottage in Kersko, about an hour’s drive east of Prague. From then until his death in 1997, he divided his time between Prague and Kersko, where he wrote and tended to a community of cats. Over the years, his relationship to them grew deeper and more complex, becoming a measure of the pressures, both private and public, that impinged on his life as a writer.…
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The Gentle Barbarian

Nonfiction by Bohumil Hrabal

Translated by Paul Wilson

The Gentle Barbarian is Bohumil Hrabal’s homage to Vladimír Boudník, one of the greatest Czech artists of the 1950s and 1960s, whose life came to a tragic end shortly after the Soviet invasion of 1968. Boudník and Hrabal had a close and often contentious friendship. For a brief period, in the early 1950s, they worked in the Kladno steel works and lived in the same building in Prague. Written in the early seventies, Hrabal’s anecdotal portrait of Boudník includes another controversial member of that early group of the Czech avant-garde: the poet Egon Bondy.…
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Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult

Fiction by Bohumil Hrabal

Translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson

Never before published in English, the stories in Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult were written mostly in the 1950s and present the Czech master Bohumil Hrabal at the height of his powers. The stories capture a time when Czech Stalinists were turning society upside down, inflicting their social and political experiments on mostly unwilling subjects. These stories are set variously in the gaslit streets of post-war Prague; on the raucous and dangerous factory floor of the famous Poldi steelworks where Hrabal himself once worked; in a cacophonous open-air dance hall where classical and popular music come to blows; at the basement studio where a crazed artist attempts to fashion a national icon; on the scaffolding around a decommissioned church.…
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