Never A Straight Path: A Rowdy Novel of Times Past, and an Intuition of the Future
"No book takes both sides of the story, as this one does, with such a healthy conviction. The story itself is unique. It flows with uninterrupted zeal, full of healthy satire and heartfelt drama. A highly entertaining sequence of events covers the span of time years before the Second World War and up to the Korean War.
The main character, referring to himself as "Yours Truly", and his grandmother, live in the fairytale land of Silesia, which at this time, was split between Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. A long time ago it was governed by Queen Maria Theresa.
The Grandmother teaches the main character how to stay young in appearance, physical condition and spirit, and that the long-sought Fountain of Youth is found by a simple wash in cold water, with a little twist of time and place.
The world goes topsy-turvy for "Yours Truly", who stumbles from one adventure to another, with a battery of uncommon but distinctive stories and style. The writer's sentence structure does imply his European background.
The entire story is a convocation of light prose, and follows a honest path diverting only in cases of self defense. Then those, intent on harm, better beware.
The author doesn't let the reader read about the innumerable hardships, the way most novels are written, and only on the last page does the hero achieve the happiness he deserves.
The uniqueness comes from the approach to the book. The author lets the story alternate with the hardships and happiness with success making the story much more enjoyable, until the story ends with a positive outcome.
Who wants to read a book where for 499 pages the hero gets beat up, suffers unbelievable tortures, and on the last page, when by some unforeseeable luck the hero is victorious, the book ends?
The highly informative and resourceful story is written for readers who care for the trials and tribulations of an individual who stumbles but always confronts the realities of life and finds his way.
The story is at once humorous, then changes to dramatically desperate, but always flows interestingly from one adventure to another, as the scenario changes from one encounter to the next. This book is not filled with incalculable crimes and murders but clings to hope for the Straight Path.
As life deals "Yours Truly" some serious blows, he bends like a willow in a storm to come out on top.
World War II finds him in High School, from the freedom of the old Czechoslovak Republic, through the occupation by the medieval, horse drawn, Polish army, to the attacks by the German Stuka bombers. He spends the war on a German Kriegsmarine ship of war, sailing from the Bay of Helgoland to Norway's Arctic Circle. He describes the seamy hovels of Hamburg's Reperbahn, and the attacks of the English Spitfires on the warship with equal zeal. His mandate is survival and he does live to tell about it.
After the war he returns home, and finds his homeland changed beyond recognition. He fights, with the Czech youth by resisting the Communists indoctrination, but the forces of the new ideology overpower him and many others with him. He escapes the horrors of the socialist system, by risking the crossing of mine fields, the bullets of the border guards, prison, or outright deportation to the Gulags in Siberia.
The search for his soul and new life, forces him to explore many countries. He strives to find his place and even schemes with considerable luck until he finds his final destination.
This novel follows the life of the young man, from childhood to young adulthood. It is a very interesting story with numerous exciting adventures. These take the reader from Europe to Brazil to the United States. It can also be considered a social, historical and political study, as well as an adventure and search for an anchor where he can find safe heaven. Many facets of European life and culture a