A sprawling account of plucky life under various dictatorships, and then in exile. Like the author, protagonist Danny Smiricky is a writer in exile, living and teaching in Canada after experiencing life under both the Nazis and the Communists. Also like him, Danny is bawdy, fun-loving, adores American jazz, and has a variety of comic and bitter adventures across many time zones and lands. Skvorecky's novels have a lot in common with those of his countryman Milan Kundera; progressing from fairly short, erotic, and light-hearted early tales to more ambitious works. This one takes its name from the words Stalin used to describe writers, and is his biggest, most autobiographical, and perhaps best.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus