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How I Came to Know Fish
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How I Came to Know Fish (1974) is Ota Pavel's magical memoir of his childhood in Czechoslovakia. Fishing with his father and his Uncle Prosek - the two finest fishermen in the world - he takes a peaceful pleasure from the rivers and ponds of his country. But when the Nazis invade, his father and two older brothers are sent to concentration camps and Pavel must steal their confiscated fish back from under the noses of the SS to feed his family. With tales of his father's battle to provide for his family both in wealthy freedom and in terrifying persecution, this is one boy's passionate and affecting tale of life, love and fishing.
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About the Author

Ota Pavel (1930-1973) worked for much of his short life as a journalist and sports reporter. Despite serious bouts of mental illness he wrote brilliant, lyrical accounts, some collected in How I Came to Know Fish, of his childhood and his family in a Czechoslovakia under overwhelming threat from Nazism.

Reviews

A moving, bittersweet coming of age . . . A collection that works its magic quietly * Kirkus Reviews * [The series] sheds remarkable light on the literature, culture and politics of the region...anyone coming fresh to the field will be captivated by the richness, variety, humour and pathos of a classic literature that, through a shared historical experience, transcends national and linguistic boundaries. -- CJ Schuler * Independent on Sunday * This [series] is a wonderful idea ... They are absurdist parables, by turns hilarious, unsettling and enigmatic. -- Nicholas Lezard * Guardian * I urge you to go and read them. -- Adam Thirlwell * New Statesman * This new series of Central European Classics is important well beyond simply providing 'good reads'. -- Stephen Vizinczey * Daily Telegraph *

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