I Served the King of England

I Served the King of England In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre World War II Prague who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism Bohumil

  • Title: I Served the King of England
  • Author: Bohumil Hrabal Paul Wilson
  • ISBN: 9780330308762
  • Page: 133
  • Format: Paperback
  • In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th century Czechoslovakia First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in bookIn a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th century Czechoslovakia First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I Served the King of England is an extraordinary and subtly tragicomic novel The New York Times , telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie It is one of the great moments in his life Eventually, he falls in love with a Nazi woman athlete as the Germans are invading Czechoslovakia After the war, through the sale of valuable stamps confiscated from the Jews, he reaches the heights of his ambition, building a hotel He becomes a millionaire, but with the institution of communism, he loses everything and is sent to inspect mountain roads Living in dreary circumstances, Ditie comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, and with his place in history.

    One thought on “I Served the King of England”

    1. Czechs say Bohumil Hrabal's work is untranslatable. When I read Too Loud a Solitude I indeed felt something wasn't coming through. But I chalked it up to a style of Eastern European literature: dark, allegorical, an unfiltered cigarette of protest to communist grime. Glad I read it but no rush to read any more Hrabal.And then I stopped in a used bookstore, just this week. Monday. There was I Served the King of England. I jimmied it out and thumbed it open, expecting to read a sentence or two and [...]

    2. Man's body and spirit are indestructiblehe is merely changed or metamorphized- Bohumil Hrabal, I Served the King of England (1971).Hrabal's satirically political, erotically imagined and poignant adventure story follows the rise and fall of a young busboy Ditie (Czech for 'child') who, despite his diminutive stature, possesses big dreams and the determination to become a millionaire to be the equal of everyone else: is influenced by his father's advice to have an aim in life because then he'd ha [...]

    3. Книга, която едновременно разсмива и разплаква до сълзи!Ако можеше да се снима лицето ми от началото до края… От спонтанно хилене, през леко помръкване, до горещи, „дълбоки“ сълзи.Не е книга, в която четях всеки ред, за да не пропусна нещо от сюжета (в началото си мислех, че м [...]

    4. I was actually trying to find another book by Hrabal :Closely Watched Trains , but the library only had this. I'm glad I picked it up, as it was a joy to read from start to finish, and much more serious and thought provoking than the comedy of the first pages let me believe. Probably, the book would not qualify as a 'hidden gem' with a 4+ rating from 4000 votes and an inclusion into one of those '1001 books to read before you die' lists, but I still think it is underappreciated and worthy of mor [...]

    5. Έκλεισα αυτό το βιβλίο με ένα γλυκό συναίσθημα γιατί πραγματικά ο συγγραφέας πέτυχε να δημιουργήσει έναν απίστευτα όμορφο χαρακτήρα· απλό, ίσως χαζό και αγαθιαρη θα τον θεωρήσετε όταν διαβάσετε τις πρώτες σελίδες, αλλά τελικά, και όσο προχωράει η ιστορία, ο ήρωας θα καταφέ [...]

    6. Ovo je u svakom smislu brilijantna novela/roman/zbirka pripovedaka. Nisam sigurna jel' sme da se kaže groteskna burleska, ali je, u stvari – to.Najpre stil: ostavlja utisak gotovo nespretne improvizacije. Kažu, pisac je (u stvarnosti) tvrdio da je sve napisao u cugu, za dve nedelje, a u i poslednjem poglavlju se, šatro, pravda za tu zbrkanost – mnogo mu je, oh, sunce išlo u oči. Reč je, zapravo, o tendencioznoj stilizaciji i to izuzetno promućurnoj i veoma visokoj. Rečenice su sami h [...]

    7. (review in English below)Muito bom!Gostei imenso desta história e sobretudo da maneira como está contada, praticamente sem pausas, que se lê quase sem respirar e que se torna viciante. Ficava mesmo chateada quando era obrigada a interromper a leitura!O narrador conta-nos a história da sua vida, recheada de episódios fantásticos/fantasiosos/fantasiados, que nos envolvem numa espécie de magia à qual somos de vez em quando arrancados e devolvidos à realidade de forma brutal.Gostei da escri [...]

    8. This is a highly regarded mid-century novel by an acclaimed Czech writer that wasn't translated into English until late last century. It tells the story of Ditie, an impoverished youth who starts work selling hot dogs in a train station and works his way up through the service industry as life around him is torn asunder by the second World War.I wasn't quite sure what to make of this novel at first, with its page-long sentences, dearth of female characters and absurdist, fairy-tale undertones. B [...]

    9. Czech writer, Bohumil Hrabal, is a raconteur par excellence. “I Served the King of England” is a highly entertaining story about how the unbelievable comes true many times over for Ditě. When we first make his acquaintance, he is only age 15 and a busboy at the Grand Prague Hotel. The story follows Ditě’s colorful career in the hotel industry from busboy to waiter, to lead waiter and to hotel owner; his sexual exploits; his self-awakening. In essence, it is the story of Ditě, a pint-siz [...]

    10. Great characters don't die: take Svejk for example. Last seen hunting mongrels to smuggle into the purebred boudoirs of gullible dowagers , he emerges, after a Van Winklian absence, in the novels and persona of Bohumil Hrabal, arguably central Europe's greatest pure novelist of the post WWII era (by "pure novelist" here I mean something like what sportswriters mean when they describe a basketball player as a "pure shooter" or "pure point guard": nobility, heredity, mystical powers). I Served the [...]

    11. Eu tinha apenas acabado de chegar ao Hotel Na Cidade Dourada de Praga quando o patrão me pegou pela orelha esquerda e, puxando-a disse: «A partir de agora és o groom aqui, e não te esqueças: tu não viste nada, não ouviste nada! Repete!». Respondi então que não tinha visto nada nem ouvido nada, no hotel. A seguir o patrão puxou-me pela orelha direita e disse: «Mas não te esqueças também que tens que ver tudo e ouvir tudo! Repete!» Então repeti, admirado que veria tudo e ouviria t [...]

    12. Benditas as almas que conseguem trazer-nos tantas emoções, estejam elas mascaradas com a ideia da alegria, da festa, do riso ou camufladas com o disfarce do choro e da tristeza, benditos aqueles que, através das suas paixões, das suas histórias, das suas fantasias nos elevam a um estado de beleza, de autenticidade, de excecionalidade únicos! É assim que me ocorre resumir este, embora não surpreendente mas magnífico “Eu que Servi o Rei de Inglaterra”. É Bohumil Hrabal no seu melhor, [...]

    13. Με κούρασε, με εκνεύρισεβαρέθηκα. Με ανούσιες τεράστιες προτάσεις με έκταση από μισή έως 1,5 σελίδα πραγματικά δεν ένιωσα τίποτα εκτός από εκνευρισμό. Δεν συμπάθησα ούτε και αντιπάθησα τον αδιάφορο πρωταγωνιστή. Πάω παρακάτω.

    14. Помитащ текст! Не знам дали тази книга се чете на един дъх, защото колкото повече напредва текстът, толкова повече ти спира дъхът и усещаш, че честичко преглъщаш буцата, която ти засяда в гърлото. Но се чете за един ден. Особено след първата глава. Писането на Храбъл ми напомн [...]

    15. Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.I bought this book during my trip to Prague as part of my project to get a book or two in each new country I visit. Now, this is not my first Czech book, but I wanted to try a new Czech author nevertheless.In my opinion, one of the best things about the book was actually the foreword. Unfortunately, I don't have the book right now, so I can't mention the author of the foreword, but they wrote a very informative, interesting and engaging analysis of both " [...]

    16. This is one of the rare cases where I saw the movie well before I read the book. In part, I think my reaction to the book is because of what I saw with movie. Tracing the rise and fall of a busboy during the mid-1900s, I Served the King of England is a brew of humor, strangeness and beauty. It is impossible, though the movie came very close; to capture the absolute beauty of the language, even as it appears in translated form. It’s strange because it is the beauty of the language that possesse [...]

    17. "But I didn't want to be seen by human eyes anymore, or praised for what I'd done—all of that had left me." (226)I lived in Prague for almost seven years, from the age of nine to fourteen. I was too young at the time to have a sense of Czech literature, of course, but I'm trying to make up for it – retrospectively – by reading more Czech authors (aside from the more obvious choice of Kundera). This actually goes for the literatures of all the countries in which I've lived; sadly, I only st [...]

    18. აქამდე ჩემი საყვარელი თხრობის სტილი მესამე პირის ნაამბობი იყო მთავარ პერსონაჟზე და ახლა მგონი ახალი ფავორიტი მაქვს pabeni-ს სახით.ზღაპარივით იკითხება და თარგმანიც ძალიან კაია.სიამოვნებით წ [...]

    19. Роман, написаний на одному подиху, без абзаців - про долю офіціанта в Чехії 20 століття. Мої враження від книжки вже трохи були визначені наперед фільмом, тому я трохи наперед вважала, що це твір про розраховування чехів зі своїм складним минулим і сумнівне вміння погодитися [...]

    20. ყურადღებით უსმინეთ, იან დიტე ბევრს გიამბობთ :)

    21. This book I love, the trials and tribulations of a tiny waiter, Ditie. A keen and amoral observer of human foibles in a rapid flow of tale telling that is almost stream of consciousness. There are plenty of whores in this book, and they are always happy and smiling in this book. It works from Ditie's perspective though, as it is never anything less than deeply flawed. Foundationally, it is written by someone who understands what it means to be on your feet all day, which won me over from the beg [...]

    22. Este libro podría llamarse también Las aventuras del pequeño Dítie, o Yo serví al Emperador de Etiopía; lo mismo da. A Hrabal le gusta contar lo que va ocurriendo a medida que va surgiendo de su imaginación; el título o el sentido global de la historia no son tan importantes. Arranca cada capítulo solicitando: "Escuchad bien lo que voy a contaros". Y en cada capítulo desarrolla las aventuras de este hombre pequeño en el ámbito de los restaurantes; cada capítulo una etapa, con su est [...]

    23. دیتی یکی از اون شخصیت های به یاد موندنیه که تا مدت ها می تونه همراه آدم باقی بمونه و کتاب هم البته کتاب دوست داشتنی ای هستش.داستان خدمتکار قد کوتاه و ریز جثه ی جاه طلب که حتا یک دقیقه هم دست از رویا پردازی و خواستن نمی کشه و درنهایت هم از پس جمله های خنده دار و داستان های "باور نکر [...]

    24. I don't read much fiction these days, but when I do, I often go for or back to Hrabal. Even though Kundera is probably the best known Czech writer (and another favorite) Hrabal is considered the grandaddy. They cover many of the same themes — communism, relationships, sex — but their styles couldn't be more different. Hrabal reminds me of Hemingway via Bukowski — short, boozy and punchy. But he also mixes in a dream-like quality, where implausible things are made to seem commonplace. This [...]

    25. არამხოლოდ ინგლისის მეფეს, ხარისხიანი ლიტერატურის წარმოჩენასაც ემსახურება ეს წიგნი.

    26. È difficile dare un'idea di cos'è questo libro.Posso dirvi che parla di come l'ambizione ci spinga a comportamenti impensabili, salvo poi lasciarci a riflettere su cosa siamo davvero, a prescindere da cosa vogliamo essere.Ma io non sono così profonda, e quindi vi dico che di questo libro ho amato la potenza delle immagini evocate, l'ironia, la bellezza nascosta in cose apparentemente brutte, gli aneddoti tanto incredibili quanto potenzialmente veri, un flusso di coscienza che è, invece, azio [...]

    27. The unbelievable came true.“I served the King of England” is good old-fashioned storytelling and it goes straight to my favourites shelf. Hrabal is a master raconteur although his style may not appeal to everybody. It is rambling with long sentences and yarns which join together without a logical connection. Yet his stories are quirky, hilarious and grab your attention.“When I started to work at the Golden Prague Hotel, the boss took hold of my left ear, pulled me up and said, You’re a b [...]

    28. I began this book in November, took a break well into it, but read the last fifty pages over the past few days. The first chapter is amazing and there are plenty of interesting scenes and asides throughout. Descriptions are often extremely rich, and the novel often has unique ways of addressing 20th-century European history (no spoilers).

    29. reminded me of walser -- maybe a more worldy walser. as if instead of retreating to the madhouse, hrabal was sentenced to the purgatory of the diplomatic corps -- forced propriety despite the absurd or horrific swirls of history around him. but, like walser, he recognizes the poetic gesture poetic or romantic despite or because of the old world sexism and classism rampant (and rampant still) just before the second world war, the ripened-to-rot but still shiny weimar-type decadence without mentio [...]

    30. Книга не читалась запоєм. Це було розмірене читання на кілька вечорів з кава-паузами для того щоб ще раз уявити, візуалізувати, посмакувати атмосферу. Від початку це мандрівка долею однієї маленької людини. І все тут починається з малого: молодий вік головного героя, низьки [...]

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