The Drowning of a Goldfish

Lidmila Sovakova, Author Permanent Press (NY) $24 (152p) ISBN 978-0-932966-95-7
This charming first novel casts a bittersweet look at the troubled post-WW II years in the author's native Czechoslovakia. The narrator is a sensitive young woman whose cosseted early life includes gardening with her grandfather and enjoying a high school education at a finishing school for the well-to-do bourgeoisie. But after the Communists seize power in 1948, her father, a successful banker, is imprisoned; at this point the story, which has been deliberately unfocused, springs to life. The narrator, barred from university because of her higher-class background, gets a job at a chemical goods warehouse. She eventually collapses and ends up in the hospital, where she meets her future husband, an opportunistic and boorish medical intern. The narrator's real education begins as she gets a job teaching Russian to factory and office workers, struggles to keep her marriage intact and schemes to fulfill her almost obsessive ambition: to receive a university degree and, like so many real-life members of the Czech intelligentsia of that period, be allowed to participate in society. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Ebook - 149 pages - 978-1-5040-2850-9
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