The Last Bell

Johannes Urzidil

Translated by David Burnett

Paperback

160 pp

Published 26/01/2017

ISBN 9781782272397

A maid who is unexpectedly bequeathed her wealthy employers' worldly possessions when they flee the country after the Nazi occupation; a loyal bank clerk, who steals a Renaissance portrait of a Spanish noblewoman, and falls into troublesome love with her; a middle-aged travel agent, who is perhaps the least well-travelled man in the city and advises his clients from what he has read in books, anxiously awaiting his looming honeymoon; a widowed villager, whose 'magnetic' twelve-year-old daughter witnesses a disturbing event; and a tiny village thrown into civil war by the disappearance of a freshly baked cheesecake. These stories about the tremendous upheaval which results when the ordinary encounters the unexpected are vividly told, with both humour and humanity.

This is the first ever English publication of these both literally and metaphorically Bohemian tales, by one of the great overlooked writers of the twentieth century.