I, City

Pavel Brycz, Author, Joshua Cohen, Translator, Marketa Hofmeisterova, Translator , trans. from the Czech by Joshua Cohen and Markéta Hofmeisterová. Twisted Spoon Press $14.50 (153p) ISBN 978-80-86264-27-1

Brycz pays tribute to his native Bohemian city of Most in this dreamy, disjointed series of vignettes, first published in 1998. The narrator is actually the city itself (located in the northwestern Czech Republic) and documents the follies of its youth, the vagaries of government and church, and the ravages of Soviet occupation. "I am not a hero," the city declares. "But when people on my streets and in my houses are truly human, I feel heroic." Most is portrayed here as a working-class city made up of migratory Germans, Czechs, Gypsies, Jews and poets speaking an "industrial conglomerate." Sometimes the city narrator waxes nostalgic, as when remembering lost sons of the city such as the Moravian singer and violinist Hanicka Haná, who settled in Most after World War II. Variously, the city marvels at the visiting Berolina Circus's polar bear act, witnesses sad partings between lovers and records good deeds (a taxi driver returns a teenage runaway to her parents' home). The voice of Brycz's battered city rings epic and authentic, while the translators' note offers an extensive history of Most. (Nov. 30)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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