Too Loud A Solitude (Paperback)
For thirty-five years, Hanta has been compacting wastepaper and books, and it's his love story. Set in Prague under Communist rule, Hanta sees thousands of books destroyed under his watch. But he "saves" as many as he can and collects them in his home. He may be simple, and at times just plain foolish, but he loves his books as ardently as any intellectual. My favorite book of all time, I reread this book over and over again, and its beautiful, rambling sentences become my own kind of devotional. I absolutely love this book for its silly, misguided narrator and his compulsive love for the written word.— From Hilary's Picks
A short novel by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, called "our very best writer today" by Milan Kundera, this eccentric romp celebrates the indestructability––against censorship and political oppression––of the written word.
Too Loud a Solitude is a tender and funny story of Hanta––a man who has lived in a Czech police state––for 35 years, working as compactor of wastepaper and books. In the process of compacting, he has acquired an education so unwitting he can't quite tell which of his thoughts are his own and which come from his books. He has rescued many from jaws of hydraulic press and now his house is filled to the rooftops. Destroyer of the written word, he is also its perpetrator.
But when a new automatic press makes his job redundant there's only one thing he can do––go down with his ship.
Translated by Michael Henry Heim.
Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997) was a Czechoslovakian writer. He was the author of Closely Watched Trains, which gained an international audience both as a novel and as a film, and I Served the King of England.