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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Here is the latest installment in Bloomsbury’s fascinating Writer in the City series, which matches well-known writers with cities with which they are intimately familiar.
Banville has not written a guidebook but rather, in his own words, “a handful of recollections, variations on a theme”–snapshots, if you like, of the city’s past and present. The book begins with 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.
The book begins with the author’s first visit to Prague, during the cold war, but as we go deeper into the book, we also go deeper into jogn city’s history. Banville praague so effortlessly between past and present that Prague soon appears as a collage, effectively lifting the city’s rich and visible past out of time and bringing it to life once again, as the author visits the birthplace of Franz Kafka or steps inside a cathedral whose construction was begun in While most travel memoirs clearly distinguish between the way a place is today and the way it used to be, Banville’s perspective is somewhat different.
This, he says, is Prague, past and present, the way it has always been. Banville is that rare writer who can pack all five senses into one declarattive sentence.
Banville is that rare writer who can pack all ojhn senses into one declarative sentence. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….
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Preview — Prague Pictures by John Banville. The fourth book in Bloomsbury’s Writer and the City series. From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience, a panoramic view banille a city that has seduced and bewitched visitors for centuries.
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 late s summon The fourth book in Bloomsbury’s Writer and the City series. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, “devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art”, who in the late s summoned alchemists and magicians from all over the world to his bbanville on Hradcany hill, it has been a place of mystery and intrigue. 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 melancholy city on the Vltava.
John Banville traces Prague’s often tragic history and portrays the people who made it: He also paints a portrait of the Prague of today, reveling in its newfound freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover.
He writes of his first visit to the city, in the depths of the Cold War, and of subsequent trips there, of the people he met, the friends he made, the places he came to know. Hardcoverpages.
Writer and the City. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Prague Picturesplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Feb 20, Jaidee rated it it was ok Shelves: Dipping into it, being entranced for a few moments and then bored to tears for much longer. I kept asking myself this book cannot be about Prague.
John Banville: Using words to paint pictures of “magical” Prague | Radio Prague
I adore Prague and this does not reflect her. I have been there on four occasions albeit not for the past twenty years. One time I was there for several weeks and grew to love her confusing, schizophrenegenic way whereas 2.
One time I was there for several weeks and grew to love her confusing, schizophrenegenic way whereas on the shorter visits I was simply enchanted. Prague feels old but not ancient.
Prague is beautiful but heavily wrinkled. Prague is intelligent but deeply biased. Prague is refined but also haughty and deeply impoverished. Prague is a perpetual twilight in Purgatory. This book was mostly about Mr. Banville and his glimpses of Prague and his interactions with mostly “important” people rather than the average.
His research facts although interesting were presented in a plodding pedantic way that I found tedious and times even odious. Does he love Prague?
I am uncertain and I read this book for months. Perhaps Prague is one of those mysterious places that act as a distortive mirror and anyone who looks there sees an aspect of themselves that they never knew existed.
This was not a poor read but an inconsistent and frustrating one.
Prague Pictures: A Portrait of the City
I wholeheartedly praguw visiting Prague with or without reading this book. I will definitely go back to Prague someday and I will also consider reading one of Mr.
Banville’s novels as I understand he is excellent!! View all 25 comments. Dec 22, Gareth Lewis rated it really liked it. Inspired me to visit, which I did a couple of months ago. The book is atmospheric and surprising – there’s a remarkable tale of Banville smuggling some of Josef Sudek’s photographs out of the country. It’s also funny which I didn’t expect from Banville, actually.
Perhaps this is the place to say a word about Czech cuisine; a word, and then on to more appetizing topics. My Czech friends, whom I value dearly and woul Just wonderful.
My Czech friends, whom I value dearly and would not wish to offend, should skip smartly pragu next two paragraphs – you have been warned. I have eaten badly in many parts of the world. At a hostelry in a pleasant little town not far from Budapest I have been confronted by a steaming platter of sliced goose, mashed potato, and sauerkraut, three shades of glistening grey.
And what about the inoffensive-looking green salad which I ate without a second thought in a little lunch place off the tourist trail one glorious autumn afternoon in Oaxaca, which infiltrated into my digestive system a bacillus, busy as a Mexican jumping bean, which was to cling to the inner lining of my intestines for pdague long, queasy, and intermittently galvanized months? I do not say that my culinary adventures in Prague were as awful as these.
Indeed, I have had some fine meals there over the years. In general, however, it must be said, and I must say it, that the Czech cuisine is, well, no better than that of Bavaria, which statement is, as anyone who knows Bavaria well will confirm, a ringing denunciation.
Both the Czechs and the Bavarians, close neighbors that they are, have in common an inexplicable but almost universal enthusiasm for… dumplings. These delicacies can be anything from the size of a stout marble – what in my childhood we called a knuckler – to that of a worn-out, banivlle tennis ball, with which they share something of the same texture, and possibly of their taste.
It sits there on the plate, pale, tumorous, and hot, daring you to take your knife to it, and when you do, clinging to the steel with a kind of gummy amorousness, the wound making a sucking, smacking sound and closing on itself as soon as the blade has passed through. That day at the Golden Tiger, if that is where it was, we stuck to simple fare: But there would be other mealtimes, oh, there would, from which memory averts its gaze.
Portraits of a City. Jan 28, Imen Benyoub joohn it really liked it. Mar 25, Lewis Martin rated it really liked it. Then another friend found this book in the library. This friend grew up in Prague and she read the book in a single sitting.
I now begin to understand why he enjoys such a high reputation. This is my kind of travel book: My only reservation is that the long chapter about 16th century astronomy doesn’t really fit with the rest o I have a friend who wrote his PhD thesis on Banville, so I tried reading his novel The Sea and failed utterly.
My only reservation is that the long chapter about 16th century astronomy doesn’t really fit with the rest of the book. And yes, it does make me want to visit Prague. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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’. BBC Radio 3, 7: Jun 20, Treasure rated it did not like it Shelves: I was hoping to learn more about Prague, not slog through the author’s unending desire to use high numbers of large words and countless uninteresting historical facts to prove how much smarter he is than the rest of us.
Mar 07, Boyd rated it it was amazing. And now, from the man who doesn’t know how to write a bad sentence, a travel book that isn’t a travel book at all, but rather an elegant and witty appreciation of a city with many pasts. The narrative is composed as a set of brief nonfiction stories and moves fluidly across time. I kept wondering as And now, from the man who doesn’t know how to write a bad sentence, a travel book that isn’t a travel book at all, but rather an elegant and witty appreciation of a city with many pasts.
I kept wondering as I read how it could be that someone who can write and think this well is wasting his time fooling around with mystery novels. The book is part of the Bloomsbury series “The Writer and the City,” which features notable authors treating favorite places, among them Peter Carey on Sydney and Edmund White on Paris.
I look forward to seeing what they’ll bring out next. Jul 27, Pam rated it did not like it. Oh what a pompous wandering ‘recounting’ this is Vitus Cathderal – which ARE wonderful This was, I guess, just too melodramatic for me and so very personal to Banville.