Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague

Myla Goldberg, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $16 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4604-1
Goldberg, author of the acclaimed 2001 novel Bee Season, depicts a culturally and historically complex Prague in this newest entry in the Crown Journeys series (after Kinky Friedman's The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic). In describing her experiences visiting such traditional tourist destinations as Kafka's grave and lesser-known attractions like the display cabinets in the Strahov Monastery, Goldberg brings to life Prague's past; upon entering the reading room at the Czech National Library, she imagines how the room must have looked centuries ago, the""rectangular wooden tables lined with hungry Jesuits, the air echoing with sounds of priestly mastication."" Goldberg also recounts her interactions with the Czechs, comparing the economic and cultural development of the city to the values and dispositions of its inhabitants. Her encounter with two police officers who demand that she pay a fine for walking along a passageway prohibited to pedestrians demonstrates the lamentable reality that""the Westernization of Prague's commercial sector does not extend to its cops,"" the majority of whom""are interested in using their position in whatever way they can for personal or material gain."" Goldberg's musings on all aspects of the Prague experience, from the dearth of public bathroom facilities at the Lunapark amusement area to the resonant sounds of the city (""the rubber burble of car tires against cobblestone, the screech of tram wheels grinding against the rails, the clomp of a babushka's heavy shoes against the sidewalk, and the murmur of manifold conversations""), make this a rich and vivid reflection on a beautiful, multifaceted city.
Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-1301-5
Open Ebook - 58 pages - 978-0-307-42252-1
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-0777-1
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