Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Farewell to Prague by Desmond Hogan (1995, republished 2013 by Dalkey Archives, 2013). My Meeting With Desmond Hogan

On May 2nd of this year I had the great honor of meeting Desmond Hogan.  Shauna Gilligan, PhD, invited me to a reading at his publisher, Lilliput Press in Dublin.   Shauna and I were early so I took a seat in the lovely public area.  I was the only one there when a man knocked on the door.  It was Hogan and I let him in and introduced myself.   I was deeply moved when he profusely thanked me for my posts on his amazing short stories.   We talked as if we had known each other for years. He was currently reading Zora Hurston and we talked about her life in Florida.  I asked him if he had read Nathaniel West and it turned out Des knew the power of West  well. It is hard to describe the reading only to say it was amazing.   To me it was as if Des was an ancient poet reading from depths of pain and insight most cannot close to fathom. 

I have posted on a number of Hogan's short stories and his beautiful first novel, The Ikon Maker.   I anticipate posting on and reading Hogan the rest of my life.  I have copies of about twenty short stories I still have not read. 

Farewell to Prague is considered by some his best work to date.  It is very different from The Ikon Maker and is similar to some of the short stories.   

I am under the weather so I will not be doing a long post on this work.  I am sorry my health makes it hard right now to do justice to this great book. It is a dark work, full of pain, death saturated.   In it the central character roams Germany, Prague, Northern California and Alabama, among other places.

I will read this book again soon and endorse it as among the greatest works I have ever read.   I think Nathaniel West would be proud to have his work compared to Hogan.  I know I am proud to have met and conversed with Desmond Hogan. 

Mel u

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