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 Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century ... show more
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 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.
Publish date: May 31st 2007
Publisher: New Directions
Pages no: 256
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
, 20th Century
, Czech Literature
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 im...
Man's body and spirit are indestructible...he 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, being dimi...
Such a rewarding experience after all the bore I had to put up with in Torless' case. Satirical and witty, it's the kind of book you don't put down until you're done with it. The bizarre yet funny life and experiences of a Czech busboy who later becomes a millionaire and ends up his life accompanied...