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Gargling with Tar by Jachym Topol

Gargling with Tar

RRP £8.99

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Gargling with Tar by Jachym Topol

Czechoslovakia, 1968. The Soviet troops have just invaded and, for the young orphan Ilya, life is suddenly turned on its head. At first there is relief that the mean-spirited nuns who ran his orphanage have been driven out by the Red Army, but as the children are left to fend for themselves, order and routine quickly give way to brutality and chaos, and Ilya finds himself drawn into the violence. When the troops return, the orphans are given military training and, with his first-hand knowledge of the local terrain, Ilya becomes guide to a Soviet tank battalion. A position which leads him ever deeper into a macabre world of random cruelty, moral compromise and lasting shame.


Gargling with Tar is a crashing, free-wheeling tank ride of a book... Few Czech novelists have tackled 1968 head-on. Topol does so with bracing irreverence as well as pity - Maya Jaggi,


Topol is seen by critics and readers as the definitive writer of the post-Communism era in Prague, as a voice of transition from Marx to market - Boyd Tonkin, Independent

Topol writes sincerely, passionately - Cees Nooteboom A rich satire that lashes out at a number of targets - Big Issue

Gargling with Tar is a Czech Tin Drum set during the crushing of the Prague Spring of Topol's boyhood - Guardian

About the Author

JACHYM TOPOL is an award-winning writer, famous in his youth as a samizdat poet and songwriter, and now for writing books that have successfully and imaginatively captured the dislocation brought about by the fall of Communism. His novels include Nightwork and The Devil's Workshop, which will also be published by Portobello.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th June 2013


Jachym Topol

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Portobello Books Ltd an imprint of Granta Books


320 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Fiction in translation



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