The Good Soldier Švejk and His Fortunes in the World War
, 2000 - Fiction
- 752 pages
The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Ha ek's black satire The Good Soldier vejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics. Good-natured and garrulous, vejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful vejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers who chivvy him towards battle. The story of a 'little man' caught in a vast bureaucratic machine, The Good Soldier vejk combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war. Cecil Parrott's vibrant, unabridged and unbowdlerized translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Ha ek's turbulent life as an anarchist, communist and vagranty, and the Everyman character of vejk. This edition also includes a guide to Czech names, maps and original illustrations by Josef Ladas. Jaroslav Ha ek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names. If you enjoyed The Good Soldier vejk, you might like Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Brilliant ... perhaps the funniest novel ever written' George Monbiot 'Ha ek was a comic genius' Sunday Times 'Ha ek was a humorist of the highest calibre....A later age will perhaps put him on a level with Cervantes and Rabelais' Max Brod"