The Questionnaire: or Prayer for a Town and a Friend

The Questionnaire: or Prayer for a Town and a Friend

by Jiri Grusa
     
 

Jan Chrysostom Kepka, the narrator of Jiri Grusa's internationally acclaimed novel, applies for a job and is asked to fill out a standard employment questionnaire. He takes the command "DO NOT CROSS OUT!" as an order not to omit anything and he embarks on a wildly imaginative search for his origins, the real nature of his life, his relatives, friends, loves, and… See more details below

Overview

Jan Chrysostom Kepka, the narrator of Jiri Grusa's internationally acclaimed novel, applies for a job and is asked to fill out a standard employment questionnaire. He takes the command "DO NOT CROSS OUT!" as an order not to omit anything and he embarks on a wildly imaginative search for his origins, the real nature of his life, his relatives, friends, loves, and fellow citizens. The novel was the winner of the 1979 Egon Hostovsky Prize for best piece of Czech fiction published abroad.

Editorial Reviews

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
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
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
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:
9780374240103
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
06/01/1982
Pages:
282

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