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by Edith Pargeter,Bohumil Hrabal

Download Closely Watched Trains eBook
Edith Pargeter,Bohumil Hrabal
Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (August 1, 1990)
85 pages
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Bohumil Hrabal's Closely Watched Train is a beautiful book whose lingering impact on the reader is greater than one would suspect from looking at its length - 85 pages. Published on May 24, 2004.

Bohumil Hrabal's Closely Watched Train is a beautiful book whose lingering impact on the reader is greater than one would suspect from looking at its length - 85 pages.

Hrabal has simplified Hrma’s emotional constructs as Hrma’s lens plays on the cruel absurdities of life in his Nazi occupied country.

Closely Watched Trains book. Originally written in Czech. DREAMLIKE, it there’s a word for it. Reading it gave me this experience: when disparate dreams come in sequence at night, each one understood completely as they pass before the eyes which open when one is asleep, each dream segment seeking to connect with the others, then backing off, one at a time, as if saying goodbye, yet making wordless Originally written in Czech.

A classic of postwar literature, a small masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism from one of the best Czech writers. For twenty-two-year-old Milos, bumbling apprentice at a sleepy Czech railway station, life is full of worries: his burdensome virginity, his love for the pretty conductor Masha, the scandalous goings-on in the station master's office. Beside them, the part he will come to play against the occupying Germans seems a simple affair, in Bohumil Hrabal's touching, absurd masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism.

Cutting It Short, London, 1993. The Little Town Where Time Stood Still, London, 1993. The Death of Mr Baltisberger, translated by Michael Henry Heim, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975. Bohumil Hrabal - the Close Watcher of Trains, article on Hrabal by Mats Larsson (1997). Bohumil Hrabal on IMDb. Bohumil Hrabal at Czechoslovak book network Baila.

Closely Watched Trains (Czech: Ostře sledované vlaky) is a 1966 Czechoslovak film directed by Jiří Menzel and is one of the best-known products of the Czechoslovak New Wave. It was released in the United Kingdom as Closely Observed Trains. It is a coming-of-age story about a young man working at a train station in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II. The film is based on a 1965 novel by Bohumil Hrabal.

Closely Watched Trains is the subtle and poetic portrait of Milos Hrma, a timid young railroad apprentice who insulates .

Closely Watched Trains is the subtle and poetic portrait of Milos Hrma, a timid young railroad apprentice who insulates himself with fantasy against a reality filled with cruelty and grief. Day after day as he watches trains fly by, he torments himself with the suspicion that he himself is being watched and with fears of impotency. Hrma finally affirms his manhood and, with a sense of peace and purpose he has never known before, heroically confronts a trainload of Nazis. A book of socialist realism, tells the story of a young apprentice railroad worker during WWII around the time of the bombing.

Price for Eshop: 450 Kč (€ 1. ). Availability: Expected delivery time 14-30 days. Publisher: Northwestern Univ Pr. Published in: USA.

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Bohumil Hrabal (Author) Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was born and raised in Brno in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Bohumil Hrabal (Author) Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was born and raised in Brno in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After working as a railway labourer, insurance agent, travelling salesman, manual labourer, paper-packer and stagehand, he published a collection of poetry that was quickly withdrawn by the communist regime.

Hrabal's postwar classic about a young man's coming of age in German-occupied Czechoslovakia is among his most popular works. Milos Hrma is a timid railroad apprentice who insulates himself with fantasy against a reality filled with cruelty and grief. After receiving acclaim as a novel, Closely Watched Trains was made into a successful film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1967.
  • Wizard
Hrabal needed to show optimism. He published this book in the heyday of socialist realism. It is actually a sanitized version of a much wilder story, which was unpublishable.
The avant-garde has a tendency to be unfair to those who are tolerated by oppressors. Hrabal barely made it to the printing press, but he got vilified by his friends. Would you believe it, this outrageous piece of brilliant short fiction was attacked because the government allowed it to be printed. It was considered `prettified'.
This shows how twisted our minds get under stress.

The story is set in early 45, the Germans are losing the war, the Czech village, where the narrator works with the railways, is watching events closely. The story is filled with Hrabal's usual eccentrics. The great grandfather who got his invalidity pension from the K&K army at age 18 during the 1848 revolution and then lived to get beaten up regularly by the envious neighborhood until he died from a beating at 105. The grandfather who tried to stop the German invasion by hypnosis (and in the process caused a situation similar to the famous Tiananmen photo of one man standing in front of a tank; success did not come in either case), and was at least the only one who even tried to stop the tanks. The father who collects old metal scraps for who knows what purpose, a retiree from being a locomotive driver.

But I don't want to tell the story, Hrabal does it well already, and it is not long.
Of course this is a war story, and it is funny and gory and heroic with tongue in cheek. And don't forget, with these Czechs and specially with Hrabal, there is no life without sex, and not much death either. It is absolutely brilliant and among the best of its class, right up there with Conrad or Crane (didn't I just review something about cranes? Odd).
  • Cemav
This is not just another interesting little book from "The Other Europe." This is a world masterpiece. This is an anti-war manifesto to be compared with The Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front in its emotional impact, and better than either of them in its poetic luster and compact structure. Yes, I saw the movie, decades ago, when it won the Oscar, but fine as the film was, I never got around to reading the book. That seems to have been the norm. After 'discovering' Hrabal's 'Too Loud a Solitude,' I fully expected to appreciate 'Closely Watched Trains.' But I had no idea...

CWT is a classic novella in the strictest European sense. It depicts a single scene, an event at a railroad station in rural Czechoslovakia near the end of World War 2, in 1945, precisely and peripherally the very day of the fire-bombing of Dresden. The event is the well-planned bombing of a German munitions train by Czech partisans. The action is narrated through the stream-of-consciousness thoughts of a young railroad apprentice, Milos Hrma. Milos's thoughts, like yours or mine, are not bound by sequence or significance; much of the story remains fragmented and confused in his telling up until the indescribably poignant climax. Trains and characters barge through the station, sirens wailing, voices screaming, engines and humans both bound by the tracks toward their destinations. Milos has just returned to work from hospitalization after a suicide attempt; he had failed his own criterion of manhood in his first sexual encounter with a girl he's loved since childhood. Thus, CWT is a tale of initiation into manhood. But it's also a song of the author's vibrant love of humanity -- of humor and individuality, of the beauty of sex and human contact, of simple courage and complex heroism, even of the possibility of canceling the prefix from the word 'inhumanity' and recognizing the enemy as your double.

I seldom read Forewords to novels, but this time wanting the 85 pages of CWT to last longer in my mind, I turned back to the preface by Josef Skvorecky and learned that some avant-garde writers of the post-Prague Spring era had criticized Hrabal for making CWT too sentimental, too 'acceptable' as socialist realism. Oh well! The stubborn half-sight of idealists never fails to miss the whole story. Hrabal was indeed censored by the Communist state, and much of his writing was repressed or published only clandestinely. But he was also widely read, by both professors and bus drivers. The one tenet of socialist realism that he heeded was to write for everyone. Closely Watched Trains is virtuosically literary in style and structure, yet powerfully in touch with the feelings and thoughts of an ordinary young guy. Milos Hrma would have relished his own story.
  • Malann
Closely Watched Trains is a vivid, often hilarious, devastating kick in the gut. Although written (and banned) in Soviet-era Czechoslovakia, the story hasn't lost much in translation or the passage of time. War tragedy and humorous youthful sexual burlesque rarely go out of style; taken together, if written well (as Hrabal does), the tragedy and humor amplify one other. Narrator Milos is a naive young apprentice train station agent near Prague during the German occupation. Having failed to please the girl he fancies, he decides that since he "isn't a man" he must take his own life. Milos's mentor and coworker Mr. Hubicka happens to know a lot about seducing the opposite sex, and becomes embroiled in allegations of a particularly "creative" sexual assault. Meanwhile the war, though distant and removed, rolls evidence past Milo's eyes in the form of strafed carriages, casualty wagons, and secret SS reconnaissance trains that must be "closely watched".

It's hard to capture in a few words why I found this book absolutely brilliant. The chronological back and forth initially confused me, but once the the author's vivid imagery, acute characterizations, brutal yet somehow beautiful violence and uproarious humor all snagged me, and I couldn't put this one down until the final blood-drenched page.