Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bohumil Hrabal, Author

Bohumil Hrabal was born on this date in 1914.

Ask any literary type who his favorite Czechoslovakian author of the twentieth century was, and most will say Franz Kafka.  Less well-known is Bohumil Hrabal, author of more than fifty books, who was born on this date in 1914.

Hrabal was born at the start of the first World War, and came of age during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.  His writing reflects the political tumult of his homeland, and his writing as often censored, interrupted, and suppressed by various political regimes.  Hrabal's death was significant, considering he lived through such turmoil and violence.  He died from a fall at the age of 83, while feeding birds outside his hospital.

Hrabal wrote about what he knew, and his best known novel, Closely Watched Trains, was informed by his experience working for the railroad during the second World War.  He later wrote the screenplay for the film version of this novel, which won an Academy Award.

My favorite book by Hrabal, however, is Too Loud A Solitude, a novella about a quirky dreamer who works in a  paper-recycling plant and rescues valuable books from the scrap heap.  Hrabal himself was a paper-salvager for a time, and the desperate love he has for beautiful books is unforgettable.  A dear friend gave me this book at a formative period of my life, and I've always wanted to pass it along to other book lovers.  Read it!

Source Cited:
"Bohumil Hrabal." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.


1 comment:

  1. I've just discovered Hrabal in the past year and he has quickly become a favorite of mine. Read it indeed!