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The Good Soldier Svejk [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Jaroslav Hasek , David Horovitch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2008 Classic Fiction
Jaroslav Ha'ek's world-famous satirical farce "The Good Soldier Evejk" has been translated into over sixty languages, and is one of the best-known Czech works ever published. A soldier in the First World War who never actually sees any combat, Josef Evejk is "The Good Soldier's" awkward protagonist - and none of the other characters can quite decide whether his bumbling efforts to get to the front are genuine or not. Often portrayed as one of the first anti-war novels, Ha'ek's classic satire is a tour-de-force of modernist writing, influencing later writers such as Hemingway, Faulkner and Joseph Heller. In this version, it has been sensitively and carefully abridged.

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About the Author

Jaroslav Hasek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
'And so they've killed our Ferdinand,'1 said the charwoman to Mr Svejk, who had left military service years before, after having been finally certified by an army medical board as an imbecile, and now lived by selling dogs - ugly, mongrel monstrosities whose pedigrees he forged. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably My Favorite Book Jan. 11 2001
Format:Hardcover
I first read Hasek's masterpiece almost 30 years ago in a shorter and more Bowdlerized translation. The Cecil Parrot edition is, needless to say, far preferable (it even contains a wonderful introduction including a discussion of Czech profanity as compared to that in English) and I've read it again and again since it came out in 1974. Shelby Foote said somewhere that every year he reads Proust as a sort of literary vacation. About ever 2 or 3 years I reread Svejk to cleanse my literary palate and it's always as fresh and as enjoyable as it was the first time. The dialogue, the characters and the situations in Svejk are, stated simply, the funniest I've ever read. Many other books have many merits in this regard, but none has approached Hasek in the sustained hilarity over 500 pages or more. The secret policeman, Bretschneider, Chaplain Katz, Sergeant Major Vanek, Cadet Biegler, Balloun and Lt. Dub are all memorable characters in their own right, but when they interact the result surpasses anything I have ever read for comedy. The episode involving a character with writer's block during his drafting of a prayer to be recited while administering Mr. Kokoska's pharmaceutical powders for cow flatulence is a classic rivalling Aristophanes or Rabelais. [I realize that sentence is confusingly prolix, so please read the book; it will be worth your while.] The term "laugh out loud" is overused and abused these days, but The Good Soldier Svejk will have you disturbing family and friends with repeated guffawing any time you are reading it nearby. I can't give a text any higher recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Svejk, or - what's so great about real life Dec 1 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Hasek died before he completed this book, a deep loss to all literature lovers, whether they are aware of it or not. Hasek was known for his excellent memory, which is reflected in SVEJK; for this book is perhaps as close to reality as any historical text can get. It has the haunting sense of reality which made Don Quixote what it is; and yet this book contains many of the most hillarious moments I've ever read. The authentic description of the people of the time, the world war from the simple soldier's viewpoint, and the eternal struggle between the desires of the nations and the wish for good life of the common people - all are represented in SVEJK, in a way no other book has ever been able to acheive. Svejk is a timeless non-hero, whom we cannot but simphatize. Hasek has succeeded in making the little, meaningless and even horrable moments of life of a soldier in the world war a poem of glory to the human spirit and to the simple man. Although Svejk was released from the service "for being an idiot", he is smarter than them all; We can tell who the real idiots are, represented in a way we all felt inside but never put to write. All that is acheived in a text that never once states someone's inner thoughts, like too many books of our time do, which emphesizes even more the great literary talent of Hasek. Although long, this book is read in one breath; And after you finished reading SVEJK, you cannot help but feel that perhaps life are, after all, worth living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivat Hasek, Viva Svejk! March 1 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Surely one of the funniest novels of all time. As unforgettable, hilarious as Cervantes with all the bawdiness of Rabelais and the toilet humour of Swift, Hasek delivers a knock-out blow against the System, the Powers-That-Be, hypocrisy and military service. I wish I had a friend like Svejk (well, then again...), it would put things in perspective.
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