Two Murders in My Double Life by Josef Skvorecky

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"A complex bio-mystery about the Kafkaesque machinations of politics." (Aritha van Herk, The Globe and Mail)

In Josef Skvorecký's first novel written in English, the narrator lives in two worlds: the exile world of post-Communist Czechoslovakia, where old feuds, treacherous betrayals, and friendships that have lasted through wars, occupations, and revolutions survive; and the fatuously self-congratulatory comfortable world of a Canadian university, in which grave attention is given to matters such as whether a certain male professor has left his office door open wide enough while interviewing a female student.

Murder suddenly intrudes upon both of these worlds. One features a young female sleuth, a college beauty queen, professional jealousies, and a neat conclusion. The other is a tragedy caused by evil social forces, in which a web of lies works insidiously to entangle Sidonia, who is a publisher of suppressed books and the narrator's wife.

A brilliantly stylish tour de force in which the bright, sarcastic comedy of one tale sharply contrasts with the dark, elegiac bitterness of the other, Two Murders in My Double Life confirms Skvorecký's reputation as one of our most versatile, engaging, and compassionate writers.


About Josef Skvorecky

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One of the foremost Czech writers of the postwar generation, Skvorecky is the author of five novels and many filmscripts and the translator into Czech of William Faulkner (see Vol. 1), Ernest Hemingway (see Vol. 1), and Dashiell Hammett (see Vol. 1). His first novel, The Cowards (1958), took an unorthodox look at the events of May 1945 when Czechoslovakia was liberated from the Nazis. The novel was, in its author's words, a succes scandale. In spite of a ban by the party, The Cowards circulated underground and exerted a powerful influence on young Czech writers before the political thaw set in. Miss Silver's Past was the last of his books to appear in Czechoslovakia, where it was published in 1969. The Tank Corps, which should have appeared the same year, was banned. Skvorecky left Czechoslovakia in 1968 and now teaches at the University of Toronto.He also publishes books of Czech emigre writers. In 1980 he received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Published January 1, 1999 by Key Porter Books. 183 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The protagonist is an unnamed Skvorecky-like professor in Canadian exile, whose wife, Sidonia, a writer and editor, is being cruelly slandered in the Czech Republic by resentful postcommunist climbers.

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