Books by Maria K. Holecek

NIKOLA THE OUTLAW by Ivan Olbracht
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

The first English translation of a famous (1933) Czech novel about "the great outlaw of the Carpathians": Nikola Suhaj, a sort of Robin Hood rebel against the Ruthenian government who stole from the rich (mostly wealthy Jewish merchants) and aided the poor. The story's a rather self-consciously ebullient romance, filled with indigenous supernaturalism (there's a particularly malevolent witch woman, an "enchanted bough," and a lot of snakes possessed with unserpentlike powers), retrograde opinions about ethnic differences (it's quite unapologetically anti-Semitic) and the nature of woman ("that everlasting enemy of man, that shameful root of all evil"—and, fortunately, a good deal of violent action, muscular male bonding, and devious intrigue. Olbracht (1882-1952) was an ardent socialist, political journalist, and author of several other highly praised novels: he may have been Czechoslovakia's Jack London or Maxim Gorky—perhaps, at his best, even its Isaac Babel. Read full book review >