The work of Timrava, the pen name of Bozena Slancikova (1867- 1951), gives us a peek at Slovak literature and Slovak life of the early century; mostly it's for the latter--the small human portraiture of individual lives swamped by great events--that we read on. The greatest of these events was, naturally, WW I, which Timrava addresses in the novella ``Great War Heroes,'' a vinegary tale of nationalist enthusiasm--Slovakia against the Russians and Serbs, all three nationalities benighted and manipulated--and of how the self-inflation soon flattens as war's real costs quickly come due. Timrava's style is quick but conventional, hardly up to so large a canvas; better are the more village-like stories--the title one, for instance: the bewildered lives of the women left behind as their fathers and husbands strike off at the turn-of-the- century for America's gold-paved streets. People left dangling in dead dreams is the recurring theme here. Interesting, but for a very small and specialized audience.