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The Good Soldier Svejk

Updated on January 27, 2014

The Good Soldier Svejk doesn't grow old

I'm not sure whether I should start writing a review before I've actually finished reading the book. Yet, halfway through, I have a funny feeling that if you've read a 100 or so pages of 'The Good Soldier Svejk', you've read it all.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not warming up to get into a rant. The above would be about the only negative thing about the book I can think of. It IS a bit monotonous and repetitive. But it is also hilarious, colourful and is full of very tasty sense of humour, bordering on the absurd in Monty Python way. I'm a dedicated bookworm and I must have consumed thousands books in my life, yet I've never seen anything remotely like 'Svejk'. Biting critique of the author's world hides under the cover of lightly described adventure chronicle, 'patently stupid' Svejk happens to deliver surprisingly (under circumstances) acute comments on the reality of war, politics and the world in general. One may think that the actual story is only an excuse for voicing this opinions, and one probably wouldn't err too much in thinking so.

The book is a particular treat for all the language lovers out there. I'm reading it in English translation (since unfortunately I cannot read Czech original) and I can't stop admiring the translator. He kept numerous foreign phrases in places (sometimes pretty rude, too), which preserved ambience of the book. Must've been hard piece of work, so let me officially complement Mr Cecil Parrott - masterpiece!

The author often speaks on pages of the book with his own voice and this too adds to charms of the piece. Hasek was a true bohemian, wild and nonconformist and meeting appropriately nasty ending in his time. Well, model citizens don't write great literature, and this certainly is what "The Good Soldier Svejk" should be called.

P.S. I've finished the book - just if you were wondering ;).

Photo source

Monty Python meets Forrest Gump... One of a kind!

Your turn - Write a review, add a comment, or debate someone who disagrees with you.

What did you think?

Love it! Great read.

Love it! Great read.

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    • Michael Shepherd 5 years ago from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

      Yes, seems to be a common reaction. Having lived in Prague for a total of amost a year I felt obligued to read the book and really enjoyed the first few chapters but by the time it was due back at the library I hadn't finished it.


    • Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Good Soldier Svejk. is a classic book of the 20th century

    • viscri8 6 years ago

      I truly did enjoy Svejk when I read the book, long time ago, it was in Hungarian. I wish I could read it in English now.

    Sorry, not my cup of tea.

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      • RuralFrance 5 years ago

        Well, not exactly, I just gave up half way through, but I enjoyed the part I read. A bit too long, but I may go back to it. I was going through my 'Czech phase' (though the English version) at the time :)

      Rate it, if you dare...

      On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

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      The best line ever:

      Years ago I read a criticism of a novelette, in which the critic was furious because the author had written: 'He blew his nose and wiped it'. He said that it went against everything beautiful and exalted which literature should give the nation.

      This is only a small illustration of what bloody fools are born under the sun.

      Have you met the Good Soldier Svejk? - Did you like him?

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