varia

Bohumil Hrabal (born 28 March, 1914; died 3 February, 1997), pictured above in a photograph in the collection of the National Museum of Photography, Jindřichův Hradec (I wish I had more information about this photograph; alas, I do not)
'Suddenly the door opened and in stomped a giant, reeking of the river, and before anyone knew what was happening, he had grabbed a chair, smashed it in two, and chased the terrified customers into a corner. The three youngsters pressed against the wall like periwinkles in the rain, but at the very last moment, when the man had picked up half a chair in each hand and seemed ready for the kill, he burst into song, and after conducting himself in “Gray Dove Where Have You Been?” he flung aside the halves of the chair, paid the waiter for the damage, and, turning to the still-shaking customers, said, “Gentlemen I am the hangman's assistant,” whereupon he left, pensive and miserable. Perhaps he was the one who, last year at the Holesovice slaughterhouse, put a knife to my neck, shoved me into a corner, took out a slip of paper, and read me a poem celebrating the beauties of the countryside at Ricany, then apologized saying he hadn't found any other way of getting people to listen to his verse…'

—from Too Loud a Solitude: A Novel (1990; originally published in 1976; translated from the Czech by Michael Henry Heim)

Bohumil Hrabal (born 28 March, 1914; died 3 February, 1997), pictured above in a photograph in the collection of the National Museum of Photography, Jindřichův Hradec (I wish I had more information about this photograph; alas, I do not)

'Suddenly the door opened and in stomped a giant, reeking of the river, and before anyone knew what was happening, he had grabbed a chair, smashed it in two, and chased the terrified customers into a corner. The three youngsters pressed against the wall like periwinkles in the rain, but at the very last moment, when the man had picked up half a chair in each hand and seemed ready for the kill, he burst into song, and after conducting himself in “Gray Dove Where Have You Been?” he flung aside the halves of the chair, paid the waiter for the damage, and, turning to the still-shaking customers, said, “Gentlemen I am the hangman's assistant,” whereupon he left, pensive and miserable. Perhaps he was the one who, last year at the Holesovice slaughterhouse, put a knife to my neck, shoved me into a corner, took out a slip of paper, and read me a poem celebrating the beauties of the countryside at Ricany, then apologized saying he hadn't found any other way of getting people to listen to his verse…'

—from Too Loud a Solitude: A Novel (1990; originally published in 1976; translated from the Czech by Michael Henry Heim)