Prague is the magic capital of Europe. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, ” devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art”, who in the. Prague Pictures: A Portrait of the City (Writer and the City.) [John Banville] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The fourth book in. Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City (Writer and the City) [John Banville] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Prague is the magic capital of.

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Prague Nights by Benjamin Black review – murder in the city of masks

The people are very sweet, wonderfully cultured, very friendly, bit my God how they eat that food I do not know. They do it everywhere else and they have great fun doing so.

Banville’s quirky view of Prague – his limited visits during the cold war 80’s, a later visit after the fall of communism, a skewed history of the city, a chapter on Tycho Brahe and Kepler, Strangely, the more perfect Czech beer one consumed – served always, as my imagination remembers, from a single pump on a simple table in the centre of the room as if an elixir – the more magical, and apparently human, a presence the city exerted.

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Wars, revolutions, floods, the imposition of Soviet communism, and even the depredations of the tourist boom after the Velvet Revolution of could not destroy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful, proud, and joohn city on the Vltava.

Banville wrote the book inbut Praguers were still hiding their literary selections from potential informers in when I was living there.

Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City: John Banville: Bloomsbury USA

He is clearly passionate about Prague and brings both its history and residents, common or famous, to life. Banville concludes the book with his own return visit in the s when he finds himself convening a session, much to his dismay, on east-west influences in Czech literature. Trivia About Prague Pictures: My books must be an absolute nightmare to translate. Over the last 10 years the seven Quirke books have established Black as a master of high-class crime fiction, literary noir in the tradition of Georges Simenon and Raymond Chandler.


I think a lot of sentimentality went into our view of what we used to call Eastern Europe. This woman said they were the worst translation she had ever read in her life. Everybody was expressing great outrage about it, but I thought to myself, ‘Well, why not? Despite his claims to prodigious intelligence, Stern is both careless and naive. I’ve only ever felt this way about cities that I’ve fallen in love in.

I always remember how a novel written by John Braine in the s about working-class life in England, which was called Room at the Top, which was translated into Swedish as The Attic!

Suffering is just painful. He also gives a glimpse of pre in current times and of Prague in the 90s and after the flood of Jul 27, Pam rated it did not like it. My only reservation is that the long chapter about 16th century astronomy doesn’t really fit with the rest o I bwnville a friend who wrote his PhD thesis on Banville, so I tried reading his novel The Sea and failed utterly.

Spain, Czech Republic and Ireland are all home One of the more interesting bands performing around the Czech Republic this prgue are Kon Sira, who play traditional songs of the…. The book begins pdague the author’s first visit to Prague, during the cold war, but as we go deeper into the book, we also go deeper into the city’s history. To understand a little more of himself, he first had to fall in love with a babville.

Banville has two adult sons with his wife, the American textile artist Janet Dunham. John Rogan reads from John Banville’s book on Prague, which features architecture, street life, political reminiscence and some fruit dumplings at a ‘literary pub’. At least I find it so.

Prague Pictures: A Portrait of the City by John Banville

This has the right balance of interesting facts, personal observati This is a love story not about a women but a city. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as bwnville own.


Mar 25, Lewis Martin rated it really liked it.

He also paints a portrait of the Prague of today, reveling in its banvillle freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover.

As a friend of mine once said ‘Where does Eastern Europe start?

Now, 2 years post-Prague, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Jan 08, Max Gwynne rated it really liked it. People say you can only come to know a city if you fall in love with somebody from that place, and I’ve done that in a few cities around the world.

A concluding set of “snapshots” is better; as is a description of a woefully drab “party” some time in the s. As to what it is, that is harder to say. It was NOT, in my opinion, a ‘portrait’ but rather a vague, ‘mystical’ wandering which may or may not be Prague. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, “devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art”, who in the late s summon The fourth book in Bloomsbury’s Writer and the City series.

Prague Pictures: A Portrait of the City

I wanted to be free. It’s a disgrace how little of it is translated in the West, especially among the English-speaking West.

In many respects, his observations, brought up to date at the writers’ conferences and tourist traps that characterise the contemporary city, make a perfect companion volume to Angelo Maria Ripellino’s wild and whirling biography of the place, Magic Prague, think Peter Ackroyd on absintheto which he acknowledges a debt of gratitiude.