MY GOLDEN TRADES by Ivan Klíma

MY GOLDEN TRADES

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Once again, Kl°ma (Judge on Trial, 1993, etc.) skillfully explores Prague life under the Communist regime in the trying years before the Velvet Revolution. This time around, Kl°ma offers six stories in which a writer (the author's afterword suggests it is the same writer throughout) finds himself working as everything from a courier to an archaeologist to a surveyor. Sometimes the writer finds pleasure in his new employment: In ``The Engine Driver's Story,'' he dreams of driving a locomotive, despite the fact that his ``non-existent psychoanalyst'' insists that the dream is not about trains but about missed opportunities. Sometimes he finds his new job distasteful: In ``The Smuggler's Story,'' he consoles himself with the fact that ``in the conditions prevailing here, it is rare for someone to be doing what he was trained to do, or what he is suited for'' as he struggles to outwit the police with three bags of contraband books. But the beauty of this particular collection (after all, these themes of conscience, oppression, and expression are par for the course with Kl°ma) lies in the sense of liberty and hope it offers when the writer reaps the unexpected benefits of new experiences. A talentless painter-by-default draws his first true likeness when he must identify a young girl he saw just before she committed suicide; an archaeologist interested in human origins finds the courage to admit (at least to himself) to hearing the voices of the home spirits in a 2,500-year-old burial ground. Few writers have the talent or insight to infuse old themes with new life when, according to Kl°ma's narrator, ``we have declared progress to be our idol'' so that ``the furious hunt for novelty [has become] diseased and self-destructive.'' But in this piercing, rich collection, Kl°ma does just that. A master delivers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-684-19727-8
Page count: 284pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1994




MORE BY IVAN KLÍMA

NonfictionMY CRAZY CENTURY by Ivan Klíma
by Ivan Klíma
NonfictionKAREL CAPEK: LIFE AND WORK by Ivan Klíma
by Ivan Klíma
FictionNO SAINTS OR ANGELS by Ivan Klíma
by Ivan Klíma

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionCHILDREN AND FIRE by Ursula Hegi
by Ursula Hegi