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I Served the King of England
By Paul Wilson (trans) and Bohumil Hrabal
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher New Directions
Publication date May 1, 2007
Pages 241
Binding Paperback
Book category Adult Fiction
ISBN-13 9780811216876
ISBN-10 081121687X
Dimensions 0.75 by 5.25 by 8.25 in.
Weight 0.60 lbs.
Original list price $15.95
Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description:

In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century Czechoslovakia.

First published in 1971 in a typewritten edition, then finally printed in book form in 1989, I Served the King of England is "an extraordinary and subtly tragicomic novel" (The New York Times), telling the tale of Ditie, a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel in the years before World War II. Ditie is called upon to serve not the King of England, but Haile Selassie. It is one of the great moments in his life. Eventually, he falls in love with a Nazi woman athlete as the Germans are invading Czechoslovakia. After the war, through the sale of valuable stamps confiscated from the Jews, he reaches the heights of his ambition, building a hotel. He becomes a millionaire, but with the institution of communism, he loses everything and is sent to inspect mountain roads. Living in dreary circumstances, Ditie comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, and with his place in history.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780151457458
 
from Harcourt (March 1, 1989)
9780151457458 | details & prices | 5.75 × 8.50 × 1.00 in. | 1.00 lbs | List price $17.95
About: Chronicles the experiences of Ditie, who rises from busboy to hotel owner in World War II Prague, and whose life is shaped by the fate of his country before, during, and after the conflict
Paperback
Book cover for 9780099492894 Book cover for 9780679727866 Book cover for 9780811216876
 
The price comparison is for this edition
With Paul Wilson (other contributor) | from New Directions (May 1, 2007)
9780811216876 | details & prices | 241 pages | 5.25 × 8.25 × 0.75 in. | 0.60 lbs | List price $15.95
About: In a comic masterpiece following the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism, Bohumil Hrabal takes us on a tremendously funny and satirical trip through 20th-century Czechoslovakia.
New edition from Vintage Uk (January 5, 2006)
9780099492894 | details & prices | 256 pages | 5.00 × 8.00 × 0.50 in. | 0.38 lbs | List price $14.40
About: A story of how the unbelievable came true, this book is about Ditie, a hotel waiter who rises to become a millionaire and then loses it all again against the backdrop of events in Prague from the German invasion to the victory of Communism.
Reprint edition from Vintage Books (November 1, 1990)
9780679727866 | details & prices | 5.25 × 8.00 × 0.50 in. | 0.50 lbs | List price $12.00
About: Chronicles the experiences of Ditie, who rises from busboy to hotel owner in World War II Prague, and whose life is shaped by the fate of his country before, during, and after the conflict

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