The first ever English collection of stories by Johannes Urzidil - a friend of Kafka and an unjustly overlooked writer.
A maid who is unexpectedly bequeathed her wealthy employers' worldly possessions when they flee the country after the Nazi occupation; a loyal bank clerk, who steals a Renaissance portrait of a Spanish noblewoman, and falls into troublesome love with her; a middle-aged travel agent, who is perhaps the least well-travelled man in the city and advises his clients from what he has read in books, anxiously awaiting his looming honeymoon; a widowed villager, whose 'magnetic' twelve-year-old daughter witnesses a disturbing event; and a tiny village thrown into civil war by the disappearance of a freshly baked cheesecake.
These stories about the tremendous upheaval which results when the ordinary encounters the unexpected are vividly told, with both humour and humanity. This is the first ever English publication of these both literally and metaphorically Bohemian tales, by one of the great overlooked writers of the twentieth century.
Johannes Urzidil (1896-1970) was a German Bohemian writer, poet, historian and journalist. Born in Prague, he was a member of the Prague Circle and a friend of Franz Kafka's and Max Brod's. He fled to England after the German occupation in 1939, and eventually settled in the United States. Best known during his lifetime for the Prague Triptych collection of short stories and his literary history Goethe in Bohemia, he won several awards for his writing, and even had an asteroid named after him.
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