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How I Came to Know Fish by Ota Pavel
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How I Came to Know Fish (1974)

by Ota Pavel

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1254140,035 (3.9)2

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This would be a great and interesting narrative of the author´s childhood in any way, but I feel here you get two perks in one. His writing style has an easy flow to it, he has the gift of drawing you in and you can nearly smell the water and share the sensation of a little boy who discovers the river and his great love for fishing. But as this is a also Czechoslovakia of the late 30s, and the family is half-jewish, between the pikes, eels and the river itself, many interesting personalities that live on the banks of Pavel´s beloved river Berounka and the adventures of his boysterous and wonderful father, there is also the entry of the Germans and all the persecutions that the family is facing during the war.

The narrative of the every day life, and the hardships and little victories a jew could have, make this a book that everybody should read, in order to understand better. There are stories such as when the father risks everything in order to provide meat for his older sons before they are to go to concentration camp, or how he empties the pond of all the fish, fish that was meant to go to the Wehrmacht the night before his own transport, where I could hardly breathe and you cannot put the book down at any account before knowing that all will be well.

Pavel is a great example of the great Czech storytellers, next to Čapek and Hrabal, and a joy to read. His love of life, nature and mankind shines through every word, and given what he must have experienced, this is something to admire in deed. ( )
  Bookoholic73 | Jul 30, 2012 |
A very funny and touching memoir of the author's childhood and his experience up to and during the Second World War. The book is made up of affectionate anecdotes of all the people who influenced his childhood and is told in an asynchronous manner. Wonderfully written. ( )
  Sr_Moreno | Jul 12, 2010 |
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For every fisherman, it is best to be initiated into the lore of fishing as a child by a father, an uncle, or a ferryman.
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