NIKOLA THE OUTLAW by Ivan Olbracht


by & translated by
Age Range: 1882 - 1952
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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.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8101-1827-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Northwestern Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001