The Engineer of Human Souls

Overview

The Engineer of Human Souls is a labyrinthine comic novel that investigates the journey and plight of novelist Danny Smiricky, a Czech immigrant to Canada. As the novel begins, he is a professor of American literature at a college in Toronto. Out of touch with his young students, and hounded by the Czech secret police, Danny is let loose to roam between past and present, adopting whatever identity that he chooses or has been imposed upon him by History. As adventuresome, episodic, bawdy, comic, and literary as ...

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Overview

The Engineer of Human Souls is a labyrinthine comic novel that investigates the journey and plight of novelist Danny Smiricky, a Czech immigrant to Canada. As the novel begins, he is a professor of American literature at a college in Toronto. Out of touch with his young students, and hounded by the Czech secret police, Danny is let loose to roam between past and present, adopting whatever identity that he chooses or has been imposed upon him by History. As adventuresome, episodic, bawdy, comic, and literary as any novel written in the past twenty-five years, The Engineer of Human Souls is worthy of the subtitle Skvorecky gave it: "An Entertainment on the Old Themes of Life, Women, Fate, Dreams, The Working Class, Secret Agents, Love and Death."

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Newsweek
“Among its many other virtues, The Engineer of Human Souls is perhaps the funniest academic novel since Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man.”
Times Literary Supplement
“Josef Skvorecky is unquestionably an important writer, blending a great humorous talent with a restless, sustained, probing moral inquisitiveness . . . The Engineer of Human Souls will certainly introduce the reader to the distinctive Skvorecky world.”
The New Yorker
“[Skvorecky is] one of the major literary figures of our time . . . a novelist of the first rank . . . one of the masters of current Czech literature . . . His novels are sad, funny—and utterly gripping.”
Washington Post Book World
“Skvorecky is so much of a writer that the moment he puts pen to paper, he can't help being an artist.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A deep pleasure to read.”
Booklist
“By turns comic or sad and bitter, Skvorecky's book is a marvelous exploration of the human condition.”
Quill Quire
“A complex, challenging analysis of contemporary politics and society, The Engineer of Human Souls will become a milestone in the evolution of world literature.”
Canadian Forum
“A funny, despairing, satirical, compassionate, sprawling, gloomy, provocative, prophetic, angry, and entertaining book. One of the most important novels ever written in Canada.”
Michael Henry Heim - The Nation
“Skvorecky would probably chide us for dismissing any of the injustices and griefs that abound in [the novel]. They are real and they are gruesome. And yet we put the novel down with a sense of joy at the plenitude of life.”
New York Review of Books
“What better check on general doctrine than the poet's and the novelist's 'small stories,' the kind that Josef Skvorecky recounts with such verve and generosity.”
Milan Kundera
“It is magnificent! . . . It marks an exceptional moment in history . . . It is a magnum opus.”
Alan Sillitoe
“It is a relief to read him, to know that there are still writers like him who have things to say that are vitally important for all of us . . . What he writes about rivets the soul.”
Newsweek
Among its many other virtues, The Engineer of Human Souls is perhaps the funniest academic novel since Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man.
The New Yorker
[Skvorecky is] one of the major literary figures of our time . . . a novelist of the first rank . . . one of the masters of current Czech literature. . . . His novels are sad, funny--and utterly gripping."
New York Times Book Review
The Engineer of Human Souls is a deep pleasure to read.
Book World Washington Post
Skvorecky is so much of a writer that the moment he puts pen to paper, he can't help being an artist.—Paul West
Times Literary Supplement
Josef Skvorecky is unquestionably an important writer, blending a great humorous talent with a restless, sustained, probing moral inquisitiveness. . . . The Engineer of Human Souls will certainly introduce the reader to the distinctive Skvorecky world.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
It is . . . so entertaining that it would be dangerous to read it without laughing aloud.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564781994
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Series: Eastern European Literature Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 571
  • Sales rank: 1,044,388
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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