First self-published edition
|Original title||Příliš hlučná samota|
|Translator||Michael Henry Heim|
|Genre||General Fiction – Political|
|Publisher||Harcourt Brace (English)|
Published in English
Too Loud a Solitude (Czech : Příliš hlučná samota) is a short novel by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. Self-published in 1976 and officially in 1989 due to political censorship. It tells the story of an old man who works as a paper crusher in Prague, using his job to save and amass astounding numbers of rare and banned books; he is an obsessive collector of knowledge. The book was translated into English by Michael Henry Heim.
Czech, historically also Bohemian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic. Czech is closely related to Slovak, to the point of mutual intelligibility to a very high degree. Like other Slavic languages, Czech is a fusional language with a rich system of morphology and relatively flexible word order. Its vocabulary has been extensively influenced by Latin and German.
A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, normally written in prose form, and which is typically published as a book.
The Czechs or the Czech people, are a West Slavic ethnic group and a nation native to the Czech Republic in Central Europe, who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and Czech language.
The entire story is narrated in the first person by the main character Hanta. Hanta is portrayed as a sort of recluse and hermit, albeit one with encyclopedic literary knowledge. Hanta uses metaphorical language and surreal descriptions, and much of the book is concerned with just his inner thoughts, as he recalls and meditates on the outlandish amounts of knowledge he has attained over the years. He brings up stories from his past and imagines the events of whimsical scenarios. He contemplates the messages of the vast numbers of intellectuals which he has studied. The novel is vibrant with symbolism. A simple but obscure plot is present, however.
"For thirty-five years now I've been in wastepaper, and it's my love story" says Hanta in the opening line of the book. He goes on to describe his methods for work, and for using his job to "save" incredible numbers of books for reading and storage in his home.
The main theme of Too Loud a Solitude is of the permanence and intangibility of ideas which may, for a time, come to manifest themselves beautifully in the form of books and words. Another theme involves the conflict between Hanta's simple way of life and that of the new and ambitious socialist order.
A live action film adaptation was released in the Czech Republic in 1996,one year before Hrabal's death.
In 2007 a stop-motion film was released, directed by Genevieve Anderson and starring Paul Giamatti in the role of Hanta.
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