Notes from Underground

( 2 )

Overview

Set in the twilight years of the Czechoslovak communist regime, recalled from the suburbs of Washington, this novel describes a doomed love affair between two young people trapped by the system. Roger Scruton evokes a world in which every word and gesture bears a double meaning, as people seek to find truth amid the lies and love in the midst of betrayal. The novel tells the story of Jan Reichl, condemned to a menial life by his father's alleged crime, and of Betka, the girl who offers him education, opportunity ...
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Notes from Underground

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Overview

Set in the twilight years of the Czechoslovak communist regime, recalled from the suburbs of Washington, this novel describes a doomed love affair between two young people trapped by the system. Roger Scruton evokes a world in which every word and gesture bears a double meaning, as people seek to find truth amid the lies and love in the midst of betrayal. The novel tells the story of Jan Reichl, condemned to a menial life by his father's alleged crime, and of Betka, the girl who offers him education, opportunity and love, but who mysteriously refuses to commit herself.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
Philosopher and activist in Eastern Europe Scruton (The Meaning of Conservatism) weaves references to literature, the subway, and dissident movements into both his title and this bittersweet tale, set in Prague during the twilight of Communist Czechoslovakia. Jan Reichl is a young man living on the fringes of society whose mother has just been arrested for underground publishing. What she conceals from the police is that her son is also “Comrade Underground,” author of Rumors, a collection of his impressions of the lives of fellow passengers on the Metro. It is this book that leads to his romance with Alžbeta Palková, or “Betka,” as she is known. Betka introduces Jan to an alternative Prague, where ideas are freely discussed behind closed doors. Decades later, Jan reflects from suburban Washington, D.C., on his brief romance with Betka and the tumultuous times that they lived through. A familiarity with Czech culture and history will enhance the reader’s experience, but Scruton’s prose will satisfy anyone with an interest in this place and period. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Notes from Underground works superbly as a novel. From beginning to end I wanted to know what was happening and what would happen next. And it was wonderful being in your company - or Jan's company - looking at Prague (its history, its culture, its architecture, in Mala Strana, Strahov, Holisevice, Smichov) with more intelligent eyes than those I have cast on it in my many trips there. — Raymond Tallis, poet, novelist, essayist and neuroscientist

A wonderful book,,,the pages describing Prague in the seventies and eighties, the streets, the faces, the atmosphere, are so well done! I felt the paralysing chill go down my spine again when reading them. — Professor Mikin Posp??il, Masaryk University

Your novel is compelling: I couldn't put it down. I also found it moving in all sorts of ways, but especially for its evocation of the 1980s in Czechoslovakia, which is so accurate - I suppose only those who were there will know how accurate, but the others will discern it, I think. Betka is a wonderful invention and you feel almost as seduced by her as Jan is, and Pavel is a superbly imagined Dostoievskian figure. I didn't guess the ending, though it came as no surprise... — David Matthews, composer

A passionate novel about truth and the ways we manipulate it. About politics, yes, but about much much more - about the human condition, its hopes and fears, its ideals and illusions and its subtle, and tragic, betrayals. — Salley Vickers

A philosopher's exploration of communist Prague: Roger Scruton's novel conveys the tangled morality of this forgotten time and place with ease, elegance and deep conviction. — Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag, and Iron Curtain

From the Publisher

A philosopher's exploration of communist Prague: Roger Scruton's novel conveys the tangled morality of this forgotten time and place with ease, elegance and deep conviction. -- Anne Applebaum
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780825307287
  • Publisher: Beaufort Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/12/2014
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 402,542
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Scruton is a freelance writer and philosopher, who rescued himself from the academy twenty years ago. He currently lives in rural Wiltshire, England. He has held posts in the American Enterprise Institute, and in the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is married with two children. He is the author of 40 books, including five works of fiction, and composed two operas. He is widely known on both sides of the Atlantic as a public intellectual with a broadly conservative vision.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Scott

    *Crawls around in the crib.*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Andrew

    Smiles.

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