Too Loud A Solitude

Too Loud A Solitude

Book - 1992
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Hantá rescues books from the jaws of his compacting press and carries them home. Hrabal, whom Milan Kundera calls “our very best writer today,” celebrates the power and the indestructibility of the written word. Translated by Michael Henry Heim.

Baker & Taylor
This parable of censorship and the modern state centers on Hanta, a trash collector whose habit of salvaging and reading discarded books has brought him both the richness of the classics and the ridicule of his boss

Publisher: San Diego :, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,, 1992
Edition: 1st HarvestHBJ ed
ISBN: 9780156904582
Characteristics: 98 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Heim, Michael Henry


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Mar 11, 2016

Welcome to the world of Haňtá, a trash compactor in Prague, turning out compressed bales of paper for the last thirty-five years. Haňtá reveals that his two loves in the world are books and beer, items he feels are necessities for his work and his learning. It’s questionable at first whether he understands the books he rescues from the compactor and takes home to read. It becomes clear that he not only understands the books, they have become part of him, leaving a mark on his soul. No longer able to tell which “thoughts come from me and which from my books” (page 1) he sees himself as a bale of compacted thoughts he has received from his books. Haňtá makes use of his learning to add to his unique way of looking and acting in the world around him, although his subtle subversion, born of a naiveté despite the self-scholoarship, sets him apart from others.

Hrabal’s condemnation of censorship saves the most bite for its indoctrination of others to participate. Haňtá believes “inquisitors burn books in vain. If a book has anything to say, it burns with a quiet laugh, because any book worth its salt points up and out of itself.” (page 2) The paper trash he receives to compact regularly includes books, but they are mostly discarded works (although the works from the Royal Prussian Library proves to be a special exception). Not until he visits a new powerful compactor does he see organized censorship—entire runs of books, still in their packing boxes, fed into the machine.

Highly recommended.

May 04, 2014

The finest novel I have ever read about reading novels.

I'm going to buy my own personal copy.

Too Loud A Solitude is a must read for any one who loves novels.


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