It took me more than two years to finish this book. Had managed to get until half-way upon buying it, but couldn't get myself to continue. Basically, it's just more and more of the same. On the other hand, that 'same' is also pretty damn good. And so, after two years of hesitation I decided to give its second half another chance and liked it. This novel has brilliant satiric comedy, crazy pictures and the highest amount of anecdotes I've ever come across. It's definitely flawed in some parts, with a number of redundant scenes for which the author didn't have time to do any editing. But still, I would've like to give Svejk five stars, were it not for its crazy length of 750 pages.
If you want to do 'the Czech book' don't do Kundera but choose Hašek instead, because his character Švejk captured the true Czech spirit (at least this is what Czech people I've met said themselves!).
1 October 2007
Penguin Books, 2000
Originally title Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, 1923
Translated by Cecil Parrott