The Questionnaire: Or Prayer for a Town and a Friend

Overview

Originally circulated in Czechoslovakia in an underground edition of nineteen typewritten copies (which landed the author in jail for "initiating disorder"), The Questionnaireis Jir? Grusa's internationally acclaimed masterpiece.

In completing a standard employment questionnaire, narrator Jan Kepka manages to write a beautifully impressionistic history of his life, his family, and his hometown as he obeys?with...

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Overview

Originally circulated in Czechoslovakia in an underground edition of nineteen typewritten copies (which landed the author in jail for "initiating disorder"), The Questionnaireis Jirí Grusa's internationally acclaimed masterpiece.

In completing a standard employment questionnaire, narrator Jan Kepka manages to write a beautifully impressionistic history of his life, his family, and his hometown as he obeys—with mock solemnity—the handwritten command on top of the form: "DO NOT CROSS OUT."

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Grusa blends masterfully the soaringly magical with the gritty commonplace.... The Questionnaire can be read in one sitting—or can be savored chapter by chapter over a long period of time. Each chapter stands up as a story—with a beginning, a middle and an end.... Grusa's book is a fabulous fabrication, a work of highly literary craftsmanship, a flawless evocation of a rare mood of innocent bafflement and enchanted omniscience." —Charles Fenyvesi, Washington Post Book World

Dalkey Archive Press

"Jiri Grusa... must now be counted with the other names of the Czech renaissance.... No summarizing can do more than suggest how rich this novel is. It is complex, confident, luminous. It is about the modesty of ordinary Czech life, and about the angels and demons that sustain that life. The Questionnaire is a brilliant addition to the novels of the 'Czech school.'" —Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books

Dalkey Archive Press

"His answers are impertinently semi-fanciful and unsuitably but delightfully verbose. They add up to a satirical view of the past and an oblique criticism of the present. Mr. Grusa is undoubtedly a fine young writer." — The Atlantic

Dalkey Archive Press

Kathleen Leverich
"Like-minded individuals [as the characters of The Questionnaire] populate the books of Nabokov, Grass and Garcia Marquez, to whom Grusa may be compared. These writers' images do spring initially to mind, but they quickly fade, so enchanting is the voice of the inspired lunatic, so compelling his fabulous story."
Kathleen Leverich, Christian Science Monitor, 9/4/83
Neal Ascherson
"Jiri Grusa . . . must now be counted with the other names of the Czech renaissance. . . . No summarizing can do more than suggest how rich this novel is. It is complex, confident, luminous. It is about the modesty of ordinary Czech life, and about the angels and demons that sustain that life. The Questionnaire is a brilliant addition to the novels of the 'Czech school.'"
Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books, 9/23/82
Charles Fenyvesi
"Grusa blends masterfully the soaringly magical with the gritty commonplace. . . . The Questionnaire can be read in one sitting--or can be savored chapter by chapter over a long period of time. Each chapter stands up as a story--with a beginning, a middle and an end. . . . Grusa's book is a fabulous fabrication, a work of highly literary craftsmanship, a flawless evocation of a rare mood of innocent bafflement and enchanted omniscience."
Charles Fenyvesi, Washington Post Book World, 8/15/82
Atlantic
"His answers are impertinently semi-fanciful and unsuitably but delightfully verbose. They add up to a satirical view of the past and an oblique criticism of the present. Mr. Grusa is undoubtedly a fine young writer."
Atlantic, 8/82
Zuzana Kohakova
"An eloquent and morally profound statement about freedom and political oppression. . . . Like a dream, this novel is promising, puzzling, seductive and, like a dream, it contains an ineffable component, an aspect that resists all analysis and interpretation, a mood that will haunt the reader and bring him back to the work more than once. . . . Grusa demonstrates extraordinary skill in articulating the strange and beautiful language of the hidden."
Zuzana Kohakova, Dissent
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564782274
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 1,479,818
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Granit 01 3
2 Anadyomene 13
3 Fortress in the Desert 23
4 Largior 31
5 The Portal 45
6 Pleasure Park 01 70
7 Vazoom 83
8 Take It Easy 01 92
9 Tree of the Republic 100
10 The Bride 115
11 Orthoptera 126
12 Chochlakov 147
13 Language Skills 156
14 Pleasure Park 02 158
15 A Night in the Kennel 203
16 Lying in the Glade 225
17 Cloudcastle 245
18 Take It Easy 02 264
19 Granit 02 272
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