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This ebullient, gallivanting novel encapsulates the world vision of the Czech Republic's best-loved author in one tumbling, breathtaking sentence. Saints and sinners, emperors and embezzlers, barmaids and balalaikas all play their part in the bawdy reminiscences of Hrabal's cobbler as he charms an audience of young beauties.
Bohumil Hrabal was born in 1914 in Brno-Zidenice, Moravia. He received a degree in Law from Prague's Charles University, and lived in Prague since the late 1940s. In the 1950s he worked as a manual laborer in the Kladno ironworks, from which he drew inspiration for his hyper-realist texts he was writing at that time. He won international acclaim for such books as I Served the King of England and Too Loud a Solitude. Hrabal is considered, along with Jaroslav Hasek and Karel Capek, as one of the greatest Czech writers of the 20th century, and perhaps the most important in the post-war period. In February 1997 he flew out of his hospital window never to return.