I Served The King Of England

by Bohumil Hrabal | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 144647741X Global Overview for this book
Registered by stubee of Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on 1/2/2019
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by stubee from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Blurb: Sparkling with comic genius and narrative exuberance, this is the story of how the unbelievable came true. Its hero, Ditie, is a hotel waiter who rises to become a millionaire and then loses it all again against the backdrop of events in Prague from German invasion to the victory of Communism.

Journal Entry 2 by KT-J at Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Thursday, January 03, 2019
This was our bookclub choice for January from our 2018 runners up, originally from the genre of Behind the iron curtain.

This was book was ok and quite interesting in the historical narrative - moving from the Czech Republic in the aftermath of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the occupation under the Nazis to the eventual takeover of Communism.

I didn't find it sparkling with comic genius as the blurb indicated but found more of a mildly comedic pathos with the main character Ditie who's sole aim in life is to be a bigger man through becoming rich and so accepted on an equal standing with other hotel owners in his region. He does this by making the unbelievable come true which essentially is through exploiting opportunities created by the social changes at the time. I found it a struggle to empathise with his aim in life though and so his choices but the story moved along at a decent pace so overall not a bad read.

Journal Entry 3 by stubee at Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Monday, January 07, 2019
I finished this yesterday (06/01/19) and I can’t say I was enamoured by it. I felt it was similar to a story you read that’s been written by a child where they start out with “I did this. Then I did that. Then I did this.” And so on and so on and it just continues like that forever.

However once I got over that fact and I look back on the book as a whole some of Ditie’s accomplishments where actually quite interesting even if they were somewhat monotonous.

I just don’t think I was ever really that bothered about Ditie and had no empathy for him and when you don’t have that affection for the main character it’s often difficult to enjoy the story. My favourite part was when he had to work in road maintenance and his only companions where a horse, a goat, a dog and a cat.

I did wonder if this was lacking due to the translation and Paul Wilson does state that some Czech’s say Bohumil Hrabal’s work is untranslatable. On the evidence I see here I tend to agree but can’t substantiate that claim. It kind of reminded me of the film "The Grand Budapest Hotel" although that film is a much better story.

I’m going to wild release this so hopefully the next person who reads this isn’t put off by my comments.

Released 10 mos ago (1/7/2019 UTC) at Piccadilly to Bury Metrolink in Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom

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