Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Danny Smiricky is a Czech ex-pat teaching American Literature at a Canadian college. As he lectures about Poe, Hawthorne, Twain, Fitzgerald, Conrad, and Lovecraft, he recalls life as a laborer for the Third Reich during the occupation, life as a sabateur against the Reich, life as an enthusiastic Marxist after the Reds "liberate" Czechoslovakia, life as a disillusioned Marxist, and finally his escape to the West where he finds entirely new disillusionments. Sexy, sad, and often hilarious, The Engineer of Human Souls is exquisitely crafted, and--while an "academic" novel of the first order--is as entertaining as it is challenging. I'll definitely be looking for more Skvorecky.