"And then our naked bodies twined together and everything seemed liquid, as though we were snails, our moist bodies oozing out of our shells and into each other's embrace, and Lise shuddered and trembled violently, and I knew that I was both in love and loved in return, and it was so different from anything before."
I must confess to having seen the movie before reading the novel in this instance, something I’m usually loathe to do. That being said, I absolutely loved the movie and was eager to dive into the novel. Fortunately for my list ticking habits, this one also features on the Guardian’s 1000 novels everyone must read (fittingly in the Comedy section).
Our hero, little Ditie, gives men of shorter stature a good name. Surely I can name a recent ex who 's life would improve with a dose of this character's optimism and deep ceded appreciation of women and Ditie does quite a bit of appreciating, particularly when he discovers the delights of the Paradise, a rather popular brothel. This tale is reminiscent of Bocaccio as it is earthy and amusing and yet it also includes insightful social commentary. In particular it explores the self serving lengths people will go to in the name of survival and self promotion - marrying a nazi no less and aiming to be approved as suitable Aryan breeding material for example.
Every time the character of Zdenek made an appearance, I was reminded of my own Czech friend of the same name and his penchant for wild, roaming stories, much like this one.
While I loved the movie, I equally enjoyed the book.Now to find a man who will worship me with well placed flowers- one can dream.