May 31, 2007
Original title: Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále. Translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson
What's your opinion on I served the King of England?
On a recent vacation to Prague, I asked the proprietor of a local English language bookstore to recommend a novel that would be a good souvenir of my visit to Prague. She enthusiastically recommended "I Served the King of England" which she characterized as a comedic satire and added the guarantee that I would be sure to love it ... wrong! The story takes place in Czechoslovakia from 1935 to 1950 during the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when Czechoslovakia … more
Some people think this is a comedy. We could laugh ourselves to death. What this is: a frog perspective tale of history in a servant country. Its sense of humor is exuberant, eccentric, depressing and altogether unfunny. The writer has been called a mixture of Hasek, Kundera, Murakami. I might add Grass: our narrator, the diminutive waiter, is a distant cousin of the tin drummer. But Oskar Matzerath is also quite different, you can take him at face value, he tells you the ‘truth'. Not so the man … more