Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: A Humorous - Insofar as That Is Possible - Novella from the Ghetto

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$22.00  $20.46
Karolinum Press, Charles University
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.1 X 0.8 inches | 0.83 pounds
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About the Author

J. R. Pick (1925-83) was born, lived, and died in Prague. He published nine books during his lifetime and was best known for his plays, satirical sketches, poems, and epigrams. Alex Zucker has translated novels by Czech authors Petra Hůlová, Jáchym Topol, Magdaléna Platzová, Tomás Zmeskal, Josef Jedlička, Heda Margolius Kovály, Patrik Ouředník, and Miloslava Holubová. His translation of Topol's The Devil's Workshop received the English PEN Award for Writing in Translation. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.


"To write a novel that makes you laugh is a great skill; to write a novel that takes place in a ghetto and still makes you laugh is a true feat. Pick's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does that and more. On the one hand, it is a paean to the human character, which fights for survival and dignity in the face of certain death. On the other, it is the tender and surprisingly funny story of one boy in extraordinary circumstances. . . . Absurdity and black humor are the very tools of survival, a way through the nightmare. This powerful and moving book helps us make peace with, if not sense of, the unthinkable."--A. M. Bakalar "Los Angeles Review of Books"
"Now here's a subtitle. . . . Part of the Modern Czech Classics series from Charles University, translated by Alex Zucker, Society covers well-trodden Holocaust ground in surprising ways, including 'humorous, ' insofar as that is possible. It's 1943, and tuberculosis-ridden teenaged Tony has been deported from Nazi-occupied Prague to the Terezin ghetto. From his hospital bed he decides to start his SPCA, and convinces his friends and mother to support his care for a mouse he names Helga--the only living creature available. In 1944, the Nazis begin sending Terezin 'residents' to Auschwitz. Yes, things get darker. So does Pick's humor, which is based on his own teen years in Terezin. Although the author died in 1983, his sister Zuzana helped Zucker with details. Highly recommend."--Bethanne Patrick "Literary Hub"
"A brilliant novel of the Holocaust. . . . A remarkable book by many standards."--David Vaughan "Radio Praha"
"In situations of deepest despair, most brutal and inhumane treatment, Pick derives his strength for humor from an acknowledgement of absurdity. This makes the book virtually timeless."--David Vaughan "Die Welt, on the German edition"