How I Came to Know Fish
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"How I Came to Know Fish (1974)" is Ota Pavel's magical memoir of his childhood in Czechoslovakia. Fishing with his father and his Uncle Prosek - the two finest fishermen in the world - he takes a peaceful pleasure from the rivers and ponds of his country. But when the Nazis invade, his father and two older brothers are sent to concentration camps and Pavel must steal their confiscated fish back from under the noses of the SS to feed his family. With tales of his father's battle to provide for his family both in wealthy freedom and in terrifying persecution, this is one boy's passionate and affecting tale of life, love and fishing.
didn’t pet the carp anymore. We put them in sacks and carried them home where Mama separated them into containers. Our house was rapidly filling up with water. Carp swam in buckets, the bath tub, in barrels, and in old horse troughs in the stable. In the morning when the moon dropped low, it got even colder. We were frozen to the bone as we lugged the last wet sacks home. Mama scraped the ice from us, and we thought of the pond that was empty now. The carp had come home. Papa had stolen his own
Papa told him what had happened. Uncle Prosek never could stand it when somebody snatched a fish from a line, let alone a felled deer. He saw too that he was involved in something, regardless of his desire not to be. He was angry now. ‘Listen to me!’ he said. ‘You walk along the high path, I’ll be below you. Pretend you are looking for something. Move quickly! We leave the dog here!’ Walking quickly, almost running, they soon reached the slope of the dead deer. Papa could hear Prosek shouting.
It had always depressed Papa, for before the war he had always been proud that his pantry was well stocked. Opening the door, he said, ‘Herma, give it a good wash! We shall fill it soon. Put clean paper in here!’ Then he kissed her once for luck, as if he were going off to war and was certain of victory. Then he drove off to Karlstejn, imagining that he would sell all the rabbits and take only a few home for future breeding. Most of all, he intended to return with the beautiful male, Michael.
America by Story Line Press 1990 Published in Penguin Classics 2010 Copyright © Story Line Press, 1990 All rights reserved The moral right of the translators has been asserted Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar
employees pointed and whispered about him. He was escorted to the general manager, Koralek, whose light-haired, blue-eyed Irma looked dreamily at him and offered her hand. ‘Congratulations, sir’ she said. Papa was transfixed. He knew that he had never seen such a beauty, and as he kissed her hand in parting, he stuttered from happiness. As he left the building, he promised himself that for this company, and this woman, he would summon forth all his powers in the execution of his job. And so he