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Posts Tagged ‘Cutting It Short’

I have wanted to read Bohumil Hrabal for a long time. I finally got around to reading my first Bohumil Hrabal book, ‘Cutting it Short’.

The story is narrated by Maryska, the wife of the manager of a brewery in a small Czech town. Maryska’s husband Francin is a nice person, he works hard and he loves her very much. He is also quiet and in some ways old-fashioned, though he tries to change himself to be a better companion to her. Maryska is cool, stylish, flamboyant, likes enjoying life. She and her husband contrast each other in a huge way, but they love each other very much. In this context, each chapter in the book describes an event in their lives, what happens in the brewery, what happens when Francin’s brother Uncle Peppin comes visiting, what happens when Francin visits Prague and gets Maryska a present – these and other stories are narrated in each chapter. Each of them could be read individually as an independent story, or they could be read together as a series of interlinked short stories or as a novel. Maryska is a charming, adorable character and is almost childlike and we can’t stop falling in love with her. One of my favourite scenes in the story is when Maryska inspires some grownups to behave like children and other grown-ups frown at this behaviour, but the childlike behaviour is infectious, and before long, all the grown-ups become children. It is one of my favourite scenes in the book. Francin is a quiet person but very likeable and his love for his wife is so beautiful to see. When Uncle Peppin comes on the scene, the story is filled with rip-roaring laughter – it is hard not to laugh aloud looking at Uncle Peppin’s antics and listening to his wild, unbelievable stories. Maryska and Uncle Peppin become friends and the kind of adventures they get upto make us laugh aloud.

There are many beautiful scenes in the story starting from the first chapter which describes the beauty of lighting lamps in the evening. Some of the most beautiful passages are those in which Maryska describes her hair – when the hair dresser combs it, when her hair flows in the wind.

I loved ‘Cutting it Short’. It is a slim novella at around a hundred pages, but a very pleasurable read. I don’t think I have read many Czech books – I can think of only ‘The Book of Laughter and Forgetting’ by Milan Kundera and ‘Don Juan : The Life and Death of Don Miguel de Manara’ by Josef Toman. So I am very happy to read my third Czech book. I can’t wait to read my next Bohumil Hrabal book.

Have you read ‘Cutting it Short’? What do you think about it?

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