Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal

Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age

The novella Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is written as a single (unfinished) sentence! Long sentences that run for pages are not my usual cup of tea. I still remember how daunting it was to read Gabriel García Márquez’s (he is one of my favorite authors) The Autumn Of The Patriarch. And that is why I have been putting off reading Will Self’s Umbrella, a book that has been sitting on my TBR pile forever! But for Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, probably because it is told in the form of many different stories, that writing style works.

The narrator (who might have been inspired by Hrabal’s uncle, Pepin) is a man in his seventies, and the entire novella is his drunken ramblings to a group of young ladies in a pub. The narrator had first been a soldier, then had left the army to become a cobbler. Later in his life, he had entered the brewery business. So this novella is made of a lifetime’s worth of stories, including anecdotes about wisdom gained through his professions, and mostly about love conquests and failures for he is a seducer who “can’t resist the charms of a beautiful woman!”

I was thoroughly amused and entertained by Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age. It was refreshing to read a book that doesn’t conform to the normal writing style, and actually end up enjoying it! 🙂

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4 comments

  1. Some years ago now since I read this, but I also enjoyed it at the time, and have read a few of Hrabal’s other books – Too Loud a Solitude, Closely-Observed Trains, and I Served the King of England.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! Do you have a favorite?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say Too Loud a Solitude, as I like Hanta, he’s a book hero, he rescues books from being compacted and smuggles them out of his place of work back to his home where they’re stacked up in even more precarious piles than mine are, lol! Mind you, I can also recommend Closely Observed Trains as there is an amusing “stamping” incident. I won’t spoil it any more than that for you!

    Like

    1. Too Loud a Solitude sounds wonderful! I will try to read it as soon as possible. Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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