The Town Park and Other Stories

Hermann Grab, Author Verso $0 (250p) ISBN 978-0-86091-189-0
Memory is the chief player in the brief, poignant title novella of fear and yearning. With Proustian exactness, young Renato Martin records each day's tiny detailthe scornful chiding of Miss Florence, his English nanny; the grassy curve on a path in the New Park; the detachment of his fingers as they play of their own accord the lesson set by his piano teacher. Above all, he recalls the kindled interest in the eyes of Marianne when he introduces her to his friend Felix. These surface events are set in counterpoint with talk of the Great War and the Fatherland's winning role; while the world changes, Renato's spirit cries out. More palpably bitter are the 13 short stories, casting a camera's eye on the complacency of the employees in ``The Lawyer's Office,'' who cater to their own petty needs, vacation in Italy taking note only of the scenery and attend the funeral of their Jewish boss, who has hanged himself. ``The Murderer'' walks into a dining room, is served the choicest morsels and chops off everyone's head. ``The Moonlit Night,'' satirizes the charitable efforts of the rich and powerful on behalf of the war-wounded. Never before translated into English, this small, brilliant corpus is all that remains of the work of a Czech writer-musician, who died penniless in New York in 1949. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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