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Miss Silver's Past by Josef Škvorecký
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Miss Silver's Past (original 1969; edition 1995)

by Josef Škvorecký (Author)

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1492183,150 (3.75)11
Karl Leden works in the State publishing house in Prague. His work becomes complicated by the arrival of the Lenka Silver, and the reproaches of his ex-girlfriend, Vera. When a murder occurs, there are plenty of suspects - but the event is most definitely linked to Miss Silver's past.
Member:lucymdickinson
Title:Miss Silver's Past
Authors:Josef Škvorecký (Author)
Info:Trafalgar Square (1995), 256 pages
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Miss Silver's Past by Josef Škvorecký (1969)

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An absolute masterpiece, and the finest argument against the Communist mindset you are likely to find. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 28, 2022 |
Karel Leden is complacent. Once a poet, he now works for the State publishing house, trying to maintain his self-respect while at the same time keeping his job. Supporting anything radical could result in his being fired, or worse. His personal life is filled with a string of women whom he loves only when they seem to lose interest in him. A rather boring but likable cad. But then one day at the beach, he meets the elusive Lenka Silver, the object of his best friend's affection. Karel is immediately drawn to her and plots to get in bed with her. Dumping his ballerina girlfriend, Vera, Karel pursues the mysterious Lenka to no avail. Her disinterest only heightens his ardor. Meanwhile things at work are heating up as a new editor tries to sell Karel's boss on a new author whose book pushes the boundary of what is acceptable to the State. The machinations are intense and petty hatreds are inflamed. Then both Karel's private and work worlds collide at a company party near the lake. By morning someone is dead, and only Karel knows who the killer is.

Josef Škvorecký knew first hand the life of a repressed author working in State publishing. His first novel, [The Cowards], was met with great acclaim, but was then banned by the Communist Party. He was fired from his job as editor of World Literature and was lucking to be allowed to work at the State Publishing House of Fiction. Škvorecký was able to leave Czechoslovakia after the Russian invasion which crushed the Prague Spring. [Miss Silver's Past] was his last book to be published in the country.

Although the novel is typical of East European literature of the time, I was surprised by the inclusion of a murder mystery. Between the twists in Karel's love life, the humorous tone, and the murder, I found myself unwilling to put the book down. Entertaining, if not earth-shattering. ( )
2 vote labfs39 | Feb 1, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Josef Škvoreckýprimary authorall editionscalculated
Castelli Gair, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greene,GrahamPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'...there are certain crimes which the law cannot touch, and therefore, to some extent, justify private revenge.'

Sherlock Holmes in 
Charles Augustus Milverton
Dedication
Dedicated to Vladimir Justl and to all my friends in the publishing world for their Blumenfeldian efforts. Their struggle for the freedom of literature in my country seems lost now; but I believe Dasha Blumenfeld is right and they won't have to milk the cows for too long.
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Karl Leden works in the State publishing house in Prague. His work becomes complicated by the arrival of the Lenka Silver, and the reproaches of his ex-girlfriend, Vera. When a murder occurs, there are plenty of suspects - but the event is most definitely linked to Miss Silver's past.

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