Inspired by “Mrs. Tolstoy and Mrs. Dostoevsky, whose biographies about their husbands have now been published in Prague,” Bohumil Hrabal decided to produce his own autobiographical work, ostensibly fiction, from his wife’s point of view. He would write, he said, “not a putdown about myself, but a little bit of how it all was, that marriage of ours, with myself as a jewel and adornment of our life together.”
The task, taken up by such a rogue comic talent, could be nothing other than strangely delightful; and in In-House Weddings, the first of the trilogy that Hrabal produced, we meet the author through the eyes of his wife Eliska. She narrates his life from his upbringing in Nymburk through his work as a dispatcher in a train station and then in a scrap paper plant, his first publication, his trouble with the authorities, and his association with notable artists and authors such as Jiri Kolar, Vladimir Boudnik, and Arnost Lustig. Hrabal’s bohemian life was itself a source of great interest to the Czech public; transmuted here, it is even more compelling, a wry portrait of artistic life in postwar Eastern Europe and a telling reflection on how such a life might be recast in the light of literary brilliance.
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arms beautiful beer Beranova Bfet'a blushed Bobby BOHUMIL HRABAL brewery brush bucket building Bulovka cast-iron stove chair Charles IV Citroen courtyard Czech Daddy dance doctor door dress drink everything eyes face fiance fire flat floor front garden gave gazed German girl glasses gypsy woman hair hallway hand Hant'a Head Chef Bauman Helmut Zacharias high heels Hotel Paris Hrazi in-house weddings Jascha Heifetz Kerry blue terrier kids kiss kitchen Kladno knew Koh-i-noor laughed leaned legs Liben live Liza looked Ludva Marlon Brando Marta meatloaf Moravia neat lady never nodded once Pipsi pitcher Prague pulled red high heels river rose sauerbraten Schweinfest scrubbing second mother shoes smiled smoke stairs started stepped stood stove street swimming thing took tram trees turned Uncle Pepin Vltava walked wall wanted wedding bouquet window Wulli yard