Closely Observed Trains

By Bohumil Hrabal

Synopsis

Hrabal's postwar classic about a young man's coming of age in German-occupied Czechoslovakia is among his most beloved and accessible works. Closely Watched Trains is the subtle and poetic portrait of Milos Hrma, a timid young railroad apprentice who insulates himself with fantasy against a reality filled with cruelty and grief. Day after day as he watches trains fly by, he torments himself with the suspicion that he himself is being watched and with fears of impotency. Hrma finally affirms his manhood and, with a sense of peace and purpose he has never known before, heroically confronts a trainload of Nazis.

Year of Publication

Review

A superb writer Julian Barnes A poignant, humorous tale NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW One of the most authentic incarnations of magical Prague; an incredible union of earthy humour and baroque imagination ... What is unique about Hrabal is his capacity for joy MILAN KUNDERA

Author Biography

Bohumil Hrabal was born in 1914 in Brno-Zidenice, Czechoslovakia. Receiving a degree in law, he worked as a stagehand, postman, clerk and baler of wastepaper. He later lived and wrote in Prague.