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D'una butxaca i de l'altra af Carel Capek
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D'una butxaca i de l'altra (1929)

af Carel Capek

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
275775,655 (3.96)20
A collection of philosophical crime stories. Typical is The Last Judgment in which God refuses to pass judgment on a man accused of murder, preferring to leave the verdict to a court of men. The reason? Being God he knows everything there is to know, therefore he cannot be an impartial judge. By the author of War with the Newts.… (mere)
Medlem:joanvilardell
Titel:D'una butxaca i de l'altra
Forfattere:Carel Capek
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Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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Historier fra den ene lomme af Karel Čapek (1929)

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» Se også 20 omtaler

Engelsk (6)  Catalansk (1)  Alle sprog (7)
Viser 1-5 af 7 (næste | vis alle)
The stories are well written but the endings fall into predictable patterns. did not finish.
  bzbooks | Jan 25, 2019 |
In addition to writing novels and plays, Karel Capek had a regular column in a popular Czech newspaper, and in 1928, began publishing a series of short stories focusing on crimes and mysteries of all kinds. In 1929, these stories were collected in two volumes, 24 in “Tales from One Pocket”, and then 24 more in “Tales from the Other Pocket”. They weren’t published in English until 1994, and in this edition, all 48 are presented.

While some of the crimes involve grisly murders, the overall tone of the stories is consistently light. In a good-natured way, Capek playfully pokes at the human condition, and is lighthearted even when he’s making philosophical points or deeper observations. The stories often revolve around folly, chance, or superstition, with regular doses of irony. Just as in Akutagawa’s ‘In a Grove’ (slash Kurosawa’s ‘Rashomon’), Capek also makes it clear that absolute truth is often elusive or non-existent. Throughout it all, he writes with empathy and humanity. Of the 48 stories, I found that I really liked 12 of them, and I include a brief summary of those to give you a flavor for Capek’s topics (hehe that rhyme was unintentional):

The Poet – the eyewitness to a crime is a drunken poet, who writes a verse about a hit and run which must be interpreted to get to the bottom of what he saw.

The Record – the bodily damage caused to a man from being hit by a large stone thrown by another is quickly eclipsed by the idea that the thrower may do wonders for the Czechoslovakia Olympic team as a shot-putter.

The Selvin Case – the shining moment of a man’s life is getting a wrongful conviction overturned, but it turns out the man was guilty all along.

Footprints – a set of tracks in the snow mysteriously end abruptly and inexplicably, causing enough concern in a homeowner to have him call the police.

The Last Judgment – a murderer is put on trial in heaven, and God appears not as a judge, but as a witness.

The Disappearance of an Actor – a consummate actor is duped into aiding in his own murder by being promised a role as a tramp, with the murderers knowing that he’ll fully dress and act the part.

An Attempt at Murder – an ordinary man is shot at for no apparent reason, but as he reflects on all of the people he’s been mean to or wronged, he realizes something about himself.

Chintamani and Birds – a man covets a rare and valuable Persian carpet which is being used as a bed for a woman’s dog, and after his offers to purchase it are rebuffed, tries to steal it.

The Tale of the Missing Leg – a soldier is mistakenly discharged from the army after an incompetent officer thinks he’s lost a leg, only to have the leg develop problems when he begins collecting disability.

The Man Who Couldn’t Sleep – a man observes how vitally important sleep is, to forget the awkward humiliations, various failures, and everyday transgressions one commits in life.

An Ordinary Murder – a man who has seen hundreds and hundreds of men killed in war is more profoundly moved by the murder of old lady in her home, believes that if others took the time to see the dead and reflect that it wouldn’t happen again, but also feels sympathy for the murderer.

The Last Things of Man – a man who has suffered extreme pain sees in it a blessing, and now values everything in life with greater respect and reverence.

Some quotes as well:
On petting a dog, from ‘Chintamani and Birds’, I just love how he put this:
“So once again I worked the monster up to a state of ecstasy with an especially sensuous round of back-scratching, and I took her in my arms.”

On poetry, from ‘The Poet’:
“A poem is inner reality. Poems are unfettered, surreal images which reality evokes in the subconscious of the poet, you see? Visual and aural associations, you might say. And the reader must yield himself to them…then he will understand.”

On sleep (and insomnia), from ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Sleep’:
“On the one hand, there was the life of a busy, successful, self-satisfied, and healthy man, who prospers in everything, thanks to energy, know-how, and shameless good luck. But in bed lay a man exhausted, a man who realized with horror the failures, the shame, the sordidness and humiliations of his entire life. I was living two lives which had almost no connection with each other and which were frighteningly dissimilar: one, by day, consisting of activity, accomplishment, personal contact and trust, the enjoyment of challenges and the ordinary sort of getting by – a life with which I was, in my own way, happy and content. But during the night a second life unfolded, woven from pain and confusion: the life of a man who has met only with failure; a man who was betrayed by everyone and who was false and mean-spirited to everyone in return; a tragic, clumsy fool whom everyone hated and deceived; a weakling, a loser who reeled from one dishonorable defeat to the next.”

And this:
“And so it seems to me that sleep is like dark, deep, water; and in it, everything we do not and should not know drifts away. These odd impurities that deposit themselves in us rise to the surface and flow into the unconscious, where there are no shores. Our wickedness and cowardice, all our painful, everyday transgressions, our humbling follies and failures, the fleeting look of dislike and deceit in the eyes of those we love, everything of which we ourselves are guilty, even that of which others are guilty towards us, everything wanders silently away somewhere beyond the reach of awareness. Sleep is boundlessly merciful. It forgives both us and those who trespass against us.”

On snow, from ‘Footprints’:
“Good heavens it’s beautiful, thought Mr. Rybka; a city covered with snow is all of a sudden such a small town, such an old-fashioned little place – it almost makes you believe in night watchmen and horse-drawn carriages; it’s funny how snow makes everything seem timeless and rustic.” ( )
2 stem gbill | Jan 28, 2018 |
When you are out there exploring for new things to read (translate this as "I was in the used book store and stumbled across something different) you often don't know what you are getting into. All I knew about Karel Ĉapek was that he was the author of the play "R. U. R." where the first literary use of the term "robot" appears. But I came across this collection and, remembering the link with the term robot and always interested in collections of short stories, I took a flyer.

Boy, am I glad I did.

Within is a charming (yes, that word actually works here) collection of short stories. The overall theme is the telling of crime or mystery stories. At first, it is one man telling stories, but it soon turns into a group of them swapping tales. Also in the beginning, the stories are more procedural. However, in short order they begin to speak more of humans and humanity than they do about the crimes that were committed.

The further one goes in the collection, the deeper one goes into this exploration of justice and human frailty. The sign of this transition is the change in depth of writing. Here is just one quote, from "The Ballad of Juraj Cup": "Listen, if you saw a stone falling up instead of down, you'd call it a miracle...What I'm saying is, if you want to see miracles, keep your eye on people, not stones."

There are deep perceptions into people and their actions. It is obvious Ĉapek, above all, understood people, even as he was trying to discover what they are. And it becomes more and more evident as the stories progress.

At the beginning, they are fun interesting little mystery/crime stories that were written to fulfill the personal obligation he set himself to write a story a day. But as they progressed – as they changed – they become something more.

I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. And going back through the stories for this review I found myself revisiting a number of them – short, introspective, and well-written. For me, I will now pursue more of Ĉapek's work. For you, I suggest that, if nothing else, you start your journey here. ( )
2 stem figre | Jul 21, 2014 |
An enjoyable collection of short stories. ( )
  niquetteb | May 6, 2013 |
Hi ha contes molt xocants i, en general, totes les històries fan pensar i il·lustren la vida quotidiana de primeries del segle XX.
  gamoia | Aug 20, 2009 |
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A collection of philosophical crime stories. Typical is The Last Judgment in which God refuses to pass judgment on a man accused of murder, preferring to leave the verdict to a court of men. The reason? Being God he knows everything there is to know, therefore he cannot be an impartial judge. By the author of War with the Newts.

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