Journalist and writer Ota Pavel’s How I Came to Know Fish is a slim volume containing twenty-five short stories from his childhood in the country. The idyllic, peaceful moments with his father and uncle Prošek on the banks of Berounka river are shattered by the Nazi occupation, and Ota Pavel’s recollections of the time are a powerful testimony of the war seen through the eyes of a child who was forced to grow up overnight and who was tormented by those memories for the rest of his life. It is the magic of his early childhood, the carefree days on the river, which bring him comfort in the last tortured years of his life –a time when his best works take shape.


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