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Josef Škvorecký

Biography

Josef Škvorecký was born in 1924 in Náchod, Czechoslovakia. He studied English and philosophy and became a teacher. Zbabelci (The Cowards), his first novel, was banned on publication. In 1968, after the Soviet invasion, he and his wife left Czechoslovakia and eventually settled in Toronto. They founded Sixty-Eight Publishers which, till 1991, published a variety of émigré literature, including Škvorecky’s own works. Škvorecky deliberately eschews what he calls the engineer of human souls approach to writing, i.e. the deep analysis of the human condition which, to him, smacks too much of the social realist approach he escaped from in Communist Czechoslovakia. Rather, his writings tend to be light-hearted, tending to focus more on an offbeat look at humans and what makes them tick (primarily, in Škvorecky’s world, sex, jazz and literature) and what makes them, in his case, Czechs. He is not as serious a writer as his compatriot Kundera but is probably more fun to read. He died in 2012.

Other links

Josef Škvorecký
Josef Škvorecký
Josef Skvorecky, author of nostalgia and irony, celebrates eightieth birthday
Catching up with the past – Josef Skvorecky
Interview
Interview
Obituary

Bibliography

1958 Zbabelci (The Cowards)
1963 Legenda Emöke (Emöke)
1963 Písen zapomenutých let
1964 Sedmiramenný svícen
1965 Nápady ctenáre detektivek
1965 Ze zivota lepsí spolecnosti; paravanprózy z text-appealu
1967 Babylónský príbeh : a jiné povídky
1967 Karel Polácek : relativnost svetovosti
1967 Konec nylonového veku
1968 O nich, o nás
1968 Smutek porucíka Boruvky (The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka)
1969 Faráruv konec. Ctete podklad pro celovecerni tragikomedii
1969 Horkej svet; Povídky z let 1946-1967
1969 Lvíce (Miss Silverstein’s Past; Miss Silver’s Past)
1971 Tankový prapor (The Republic of Whores: a Fragment from the Time of the Cults)
1972 Mirákl (The Miracle Game)
1973 Hrichy pro pátera Knoxe : detektivní divertimento (Sins for Father Knox)
1975 Konec porucíka Boruvky (The End of Lieutenant Boruvka)
1975 Prima sezóna (The Swell Season: a Text on the Most Important Things in Life)
1977 Samo žerbuch
1977 Bassaxofon (The Bass Saxophone)
1977 Príbeh inzenýra lidských dusí (The Engineer of Human Souls)
1979 Na brigáde
1979 Nezoufejte!
1980 Buh do domu : fraska o ctyrech dejstvích
1980 Dívka z Chicaga
1980 Velká povidka o Americe, 1969
1981 Návrat porucíka Boruvky (The Return of Lieutenant Boruvka)
1982 Dve legendy
1982 Jirí Menzel and the History of the Closely Watched Trains
1984 Scherzo capriccioso (Dvorak in Love)
1985 Ze zivota ceské spolecnosti
1988 Franz Kafka, jazz a jiné marginálie
1988 Talkin’ Moscow blues
1989 Hlas z Ameriky
1990 Nezoufejte : zpev první
1991 O anglické literature I: spisy II
1991 Divák v ‘norové noci
1991 Ozehavé téma ; Jsou Kanadané politicky naivní? ; Divné události v Lisabonu
1991 Ti bystri mladi muzi a zeny: osobni historie ceskeho filmu (All The Bright Young Men And Women – A Personal History Of The Czech Cinema)
1992 Dve neznámé povídky: Pravdy. Panta rei
1992 Nevesta z Texasu (The Bride from Texas)
1992 Veci
1992 Blues libenského plynojemu
1992 Vek nylonu: fragment románu
1993 Povídky tenorsaxofonisty (The Tenor Saxophonist’s Story)
1994 Príbehy o Lize a mladém Wertherovi a jiné povídky
1994 ..in the Lonesome October
1996 Povídky z rajského údolí: pokracování mých jiných knih v novém svete
1996 Headed for the Blues: a Memoir
1996 Le Camarade Joueur de jazz
1998 Nevysvetlitelný príbeh aneb Vyprávení Questa Firma Sicula (An Inexplicable Story or the Narrative of Questus Firmus Siculus)
1999 Dve vra ždy v mém dvojím živote (Two Murders in My Double Life)
1999 …na tuhle bolest nejsou prášky
1999 Krátké setkání (with Zdena Salivarová)
2000 When Eve Was Naked
2001 Setkání po letech (with Zdena Salivarová)
2001 Setkání na konci éry (with Zdena Salivarová)
2002 Pulchra: Příběh o krásné planetě
2004 Obyčejné životy (Ordinary Lives)