21 August 2012

Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal

Go to the store, buy a bottle of decent or even good red wine (not too good, otherwise it will command all of your attention), then find a balcony, or seat near an open window at least, and read this book.* You'll finish it before the wine is gone. It's a lovely book, strange, funny, contemplative and touching, but in a light and playful sort of way. It almost reads like a prose poem, with certain phrases and ideas recurring periodically, sometimes with slight variations. It's basically a monologue about a guy who works as a trash compactor, pulping books, but as is often the case with excellent works of literature, that summary tells you very little about it. It's a beautifully realized mind that you spend time in, one could say. A wonderful read.

*You could perhaps swap the wine for tea or coffee or hot chocolate, and the balcony for your bed, or a comfy armchair, or a park bench. What is essential though, is that you find a 2 hour window of time in which you can read the entire book in one go - I think it simply wouldn't work as well without complete immersion.

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