Gargling With Tar

Front Cover
Granta Publications, Jul 4, 2011 - Fiction - 320 pages
0 Reviews
Czechoslovakia, 1968. Soviet troops have just invaded the country and, for the young orphan Ilya, life is suddenly turned on its head. At first there is relief that the mean-spirited nuns who run the orphanage have been driven out by the Communists, but as the children are left to fend for themselves, order and routine quickly give way to brutality and chaos, and Ilya finds himself drawn into the violence, both committing murder in order to save his best friend and forced to witness the death of his disabled brother. When the troops return, the orphans are given military training and, with his first-hand knowledge of the local terrain, Ilya becomes a guide to a Soviet tank commander, leading him ever deeper into a macabre world of random cruelty, moral compromise and lasting shame.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Jáchym Topolgrew up in a dissident milieu; his family was part of Prague’s altenative scene. His father Josef Topol was regarded alongside Václav Havel as one of the most important dramatists in Czechoslovakia and his younger brother Filip became a well-known rock musician while still a teenager. Jáchym was an early signatory to Charter 77 and published the samizdat literary magazine Revolver Revue in the 1980s. He wrote poems and song lyrics, had his own band for a short time, and tried to escape military service by getting admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Denied entrance to university, he worked as a stoker and a warehouseman. After 1989 he co-founded the weekly newspaper Respekt, spent years travelling in the east, as far as Iran and central Asia, and started to study ethnology at the same time. Gargling with Tar is his fourth novel.

Bibliographic information