The Cowards (1958) is Josef Skvorecky's blackly comic tale of post-war politics that was immediately banned on publication. In 1945, in Kostelec,Danny is playing saxophone for the best jazz band in Czechoslovakia. Their trumpeter has just got out of a concentration camp, their bass player is only allowed in the band since he owns the bass, and the love of Danny's life is in love with somebody else. But Danny despairs most about the bourgeoisie patriots in his town playing at revolution in the face of the approaching Red ...
The Cowards (1958) is Josef Skvorecky's blackly comic tale of post-war politics that was immediately banned on publication. In 1945, in Kostelec,Danny is playing saxophone for the best jazz band in Czechoslovakia. Their trumpeter has just got out of a concentration camp, their bass player is only allowed in the band since he owns the bass, and the love of Danny's life is in love with somebody else. But Danny despairs most about the bourgeoisie patriots in his town playing at revolution in the face of the approaching Red Army - not least because it ruins the band's chance of any good gigs.
Good. Paperback. Sound & good copy, light to moderate rubbing/edgewear to wraps, creasing at spine, lean to binding, fading to wraps, tape at spine. To reflect damage, book has been marked down from $4.00.
Middlesex. 1980. Penguin Books. Reprinted Penguin Modern Classic Paperback Edition. Very Good In Wrappers. Translated from the Czech by Jeanne Nemcova. 416 pages. paperback. The cover art was designed by Germano Facetti and shows a detail from 'German Sorceress' by Otto Dix. ISBN: 0140035117. inventory # 37866. FROM THE PUBLISHER-Written by one of the outstanding Czech novelists of modern times, THE COWARDS is one of the most remarkable novels to come out of Czechoslovakia since the war. It was banned in 1958 shortly after its first publication because of its critical attitude to the events of May 1945, when the country was liberated from Nazi occupation. One week in May 1945 in a small town, Kostelec, Czechoslovakia. Danny is growing up fast in the turbulence of the retreating POWs and the advancing Red Army. He observes the antics of the town's senior citizenry trying to play safe, and he plays at being a dashing partisan when he is not a reluctant conscript in a war more businesslike than the revolution he dreamed of. THE COWARDS is a story of an uncomplicated, talented youth, refusing to be bored to death by politics, and refusing to die without fighting and thinking for himself. Danny is a character responding freshly and humanly to momentous historic events.
New York. 1971. Zebra/Grove. 1st Zebra/Grove Paperback Edition. Very Good In Wrappers. Translated from the Czech by Jeanne Nemcova. 418 pages. Z-1079-T. paperback. Cover: George Adams. ISBN: . inventory # 31711. FROM THE PUBLISHER-‘THE COWARDS came out quite smoothly, without any problems. I expected to be attacked for excessive naturalism, slang, some of the erotic scenes, and I was ready to defend myself on the grounds of literary theory. But I would have never dreamed that I might become the target of attacks for having sullied things which are holy and glorious. ' Josef Skvorecky's ‘crime' was that he wrote about the Red Army as a collection of men, not as gods of the proletariat, and this did not sit well with the ideologists of Stalinist Prague. Czech writers, poets, composers, directors, editors, and readers thought The Cowards was indeed one of the major works of fiction to emerge from the postwar period. Politicians and establishment critics with Stalinist leanings found the book scandalous. As a result, all who appreciated the book—the editors who published the novel and the critics who praised it—were fired outright and the accustomed avenues of expression denied them. This was Prague in 1958. Under Dubcek, the book was reissued and quickly became a manifesto for the young generation of Czechoslovak liberals. Since then, it has been translated into German, French, Italian, Polish, English, and other edit ions are soon to be published. ‘Skvorecky is a sharp Hero to Prague new generations, reflecting their hopeful sad wit under Police State conditions earlier hallucinated by Kafka. '—Allen Ginsburg. ‘Being just as merciless as (Hemingway), Skvorecky achieves artistic truth by making his characters genuinely human and excitingly alive. ' —Saturday Review. ‘. (Skvorecky) has become a major literary figure in postwar Europe, with Graham Greene and the Times Literary Supplement hailing his achievements. The Cowards qualifies as one of those rare books—like Moby Dick—which must be read at two levels: both for the story it tells and the message it conveys. The Cowards is an evocative, indispensable book. ' —Toronto Star. ‘. a major Czech novel, as profound and self-derisive a study in national character as Hasek's (The Good Soldier) Schweik. ' —Times Literary Supplement (London). ‘With the publication of The Cowards, one of the major literary figures of our times is making a belated appearance in English. The only revolution which makes sense today is the affirmation of man in all his concreteness, in all his 9rcinariness, in all his humanity. This is why Skvorecky should be read. ' —Dissent.
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