From Publishers Weekly
Brycz pays tribute to his native Bohemian city of Most in this dreamy, disjointed series of vignettes, first published in 1998. The narrator is actually the city itself (located in the northwestern Czech Republic) and documents the follies of its youth, the vagaries of government and church, and the ravages of Soviet occupation. "I am not a hero," the city declares. "But when people on my streets and in my houses are truly human, I feel heroic." Most is portrayed here as a working-class city made up of migratory Germans, Czechs, Gypsies, Jews and poets speaking an "industrial conglomerate." Sometimes the city narrator waxes nostalgic, as when remembering lost sons of the city such as the Moravian singer and violinist Hanicka Haná, who settled in Most after World War II. Variously, the city marvels at the visiting Berolina Circus's polar bear act, witnesses sad partings between lovers and records good deeds (a taxi driver returns a teenage runaway to her parents' home). The voice of Brycz's battered city rings epic and authentic, while the translators' note offers an extensive history of Most. (Nov. 30)
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I, City is a novel about the north Bohemian city of Most, an ancient city founded on a primeval wetland literally relocated because it stood on a coal field. The city is the narrator of this unusual story telling its own story through its inhabitants, who make their appearances in fleeting, ghost-like vignettes, and Joycean epiphanies. The "I" is a whole consciousness enough removed from the town that it sees and knows everything, past and present. As Mosts people emerge from the pollution and swamp of the towns founding, their historical that mistrust history, with typical Czech irony. Here, in the city, fictional people say factual things and factual people (Kafka, the Pope, the last president of Communist Czechoslovakia Gustav Husak) say fictional things; this is post-modernity via Marquez and Magical Realism.