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The Opportune Moment, 1855: A Novel [Paperback]

Patrik Ouredník

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Book Description

April 14 2011 Czech Literature Series

The nineteenth-century founding of "free settlements" in the Americas serves as a starting point for the new novel by popular Czech author Patrik Ouredník. Simultaneously satiric and philosophical, The Opportune Moment, 1855, opens with an Italian anarchist's missive to his noble former mistress, an impassioned rejection of all of Europe's latest and greatest advancements, from the Enlightenment to social reform to communist revolution. We then leap back in time half a century to the alternately somber and hilarious shipboard diary of a common Italian everyman sailing to Brazil with a motley, multinational band of idealists, to build a new society. A pitiless portrait of the often unbridgeable gap between theory and practice, The Opportune Moment, 1855 is another uproarious and unsettling attack on convention by one of literature's great provocateurs.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (April 14 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564785963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564785961
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Patrik Ou edn k handles satire with the mastery of a Chinese executioner carving up his victim: behold the enormity of ideological idiocy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm..... April 17 2013
By Buddha Baby - Published on
I read little "literature" so take this review with a grain of salt.  The topic of anarchy was impossible for me to resist.  I also have previously read nothing by a Czech author and am wanting to expand my horizons, so this seemed perfect.

As it turns out, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I must say however, that the timing was perfect, following upon my reading of [Is It Utopia Yet?] and [How to Understand Israel in 60 Days], both of which address community living and forming new governments.  The writing style was new to me.  The first part was a letter to a former lover, not a new style but the not knowing who or what he was talking to or about was interesting.  The second part of the book was a diary or journal of the experience of the character's journey on a ship to Brazil where he wanted to set up a new free community.  I would call it more stream of consciousness writing.  The journey itself is where the divergent groups onboard had discussions and meetings about how they would proceed when they arrived in Brazil.  They were joined together  in the idea of a new and free community, and separated by their ideas about how to accomplish that.  So, this is a journey of examining theory and making decisions about application of those theories. It made my head hurt. I wanted them to stop talking.  I could relate too closely to their struggle.  I'm one of those types who would speculate forever and discuss forever, until someone decisive moves in and makes you vote, thus the headache.  

There are multiple endings presented, none of which I personally found satisfactory, especially after reading Utopia with the story of the successful Twin Oaks community.

Here is how I perceive the writing.  It is a brilliant piece of writing that uses the stream of consciousness style because that is what illustrates how these characters were thinking.  Ourednik writes a piece of fiction that specifically addresses most of the issues that arise in this type of situation where people are thinking about these issues and trying to act.  He interweaves scenarios that would naturally occur when people attempt to do this kind of analysis and action and work together.

And now I will stop this confused writing because my head is hurting.

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