I Served the King of England

Bohumil Hrabal
Reading Order: Book 1
Categories: 2019, Stuart Browning
Pages: 288
Suggested By: The Original Manchester Book Group
Date Started: January 2, 2019
Date Finished: January 6, 2019
Reason Book was Chosen: Originally put forward as a suggestion for our book club read for February 2018, the genre for which was "Behind The Iron Curtain". This was pipped to first place by Issac Babel's "Red Cavalry" but at the end of each year we choose from the runner's up list as our first read for the start of the New Year. This was the unanimous choice for our first read of 2019.
My Thoughts

I can’t say I was enamored 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.

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