A work that examines mysteries of life in an astute, concise manner.

Put the Sky Inside of You

Debut author Toth offers a philosophical novel about learning lessons over a lifetime.

In 1980s Czechoslovakia, military service was required for men over the age of 18, and spending two years in the austere training ground, known as a kasarne, wasn’t seen as an enviable situation. The young men, usually aged between 19 and 22, “felt deprived of their youth, deprived of chatting with girls, deprived of having the fun that an ordinary free life would otherwise offer to them.” Jirka and Jozef meet in a kasarne, and they form a bond as Jozef aids Jirka in writing love letters to his sweetheart, Margareta. However, the men’s relationship is marked by jealousy: who, after all, is the one truly winning over Margareta? Then, after a brief discussion of Einstein and the theory of relativity, the narrative shifts to detailing the life of a man named Julo, who’s born in Czechoslovakia in 1961. But before much is revealed about him, readers find out that he ended up jumping to his death from a kitchen window; the question then becomes “Why? Why did he jump?” As the narrative details Julo’s story, including such events as considering the purchase of a Škoda 105 automobile, serving his military requirement (during which he meets Jirka and Jozef), and mastering “Autogenous Training” relaxation techniques, readers know it’s all destined to end in tragedy. Although one may ascertain from the book’s title that things will get dreamy, Toth instead keeps the plot developments grounded in the real world. It all culminates in a work that’s realistic and contemplative, incorporating both love and tragedy while mingling youthful advice (such as the sentiment that a boy shouldn’t “run to catch bus or after a girl….[I]n 15 minutes another comes”) with more abstract concepts (such as when Jirka wonders if the human brain has its own “event horizon”). Although some readers may not be won over by the characters’ contemplation, those who take an interest in Julo’s experiences will likely want to see how they all come together—or, more accurately, given the character’s suicide, how it all falls apart.

A work that examines mysteries of life in an astute, concise manner. 

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5246-4103-0

Page Count: 140

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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