The World's Best Unknown Books
04 04 2018

So Much More than Fishing

How I Came to Know Fish Ota Pavel

Translation Robert McDowell

An exceptional collection of stories about a magical childhood during the Nazi occupation. One of Czech literature’s best-loved classics.

A moving, bittersweet coming of age… A collection that works its magic quietly

Kirkus Reviews

The book consists of eight short stories packed with memories of both a happy childhood before the war and the bitter survival of a mixed Jewish family under the German occupation. The main character is the author’s father, Leo Popper, with his little love affairs, sense of humour and love of fish and water in general. Pavel’s mother tolerated her husband’s affairs. His Uncle Prosek was a jack-of-all-trades, a poacher devoted to the natural surroundings of Krivoklat and the Berounka River. Pavel’s pared-down language fits the delicate subject matter of these stories, which recreate his childhood. The solace and tenderness flowing from these pages conceal a disquieting undercurrent that eventually overpowers everything. At first glance a clutch of childhood memories, the book is actually one of the most powerful pieces of literature dealing with the disillusionment that accompanies adulthood, set against the drama of the war at a level so deeply personal that it can leave no reader indifferent.

Contact translation rights:

Michaela Cerlárková, Dilia Agency Krátkého 1 190 03 Prague 9 - Vysočany Tel: 0042 028 389 35 99

Penguin Modern Classics
Original language
Original title
Smrt krásných srnců (1971)
Earlier in these languages
Polish, Spanish, German, Dutch, Vietnamese, Swedish, Italian, Lithuanian; partly into English

Available as
ISBN 9780141192833
144 pages