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Raising Girls in Bohemia

Meditations of an American Father: A Memoir in Essays

By Richard Katrovas, Patricia Hampl

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Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Published In: United States, 07 October 2014
A provocative collection of personal and political essays by an American writer, Raising Girls in Bohemia chronicles the life of a father raising three perfectly bilingual, culturally bifurcated, Czech-American daughters. While tracing what fatherhood has taught him about the world, Katrovas delves into a range of intricately related yet far-flung subjects including fine dining, sexual epithets, gender identity, racism, poetry, and education, tracing the contours of his ignorance about all things. Through the course of these fine essays, Katrovas unveils what it means to be an American and to be a man, and especially what it means to be a father of three daughters, born in Prague, in what we can only hope is the twilight of patriarchy.

About the Author

The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Richard Katrovas is the founding academic director of the Prague Summer Program, and is the author of seven collections of poetry, a short story collection, a novel, and three memoirs. Katrovas taught for 20 years at the University of New Orleans before moving to Western Michigan University. He divides his time between Kalamazoo, MI, New Orleans, and Prague.


 At times brutally provocative, Katrovas' essays, which also grapple more generally with otherness, faith and the role of art in society, are nothing if not stimulating ultimately humane." --Kirkus Reviews"[Katrovas] interrogates himself and others, pushing forward, searching for meaning, attempting to use language to tease out truths that cannot be easily spoken. . . . He will all of a sudden rush directly toward his subject with a passage so poetic and deeply felt that it cuts to the heart." --Washington Independent Review of Books Katrovas' memoir in essays is so neatly woven, that the occasional jumps in time embrace rather than lose the reader, and also contribute to the feel of a natural and evolving conversation . . . His personal reflections are superb. Readers will root for Katrovas' efforts to ensure his daughters feel native to both of their parents' home countries."  San Francisco Review of Books"Tough, direct, gritty, full of wonder . . . there is nothing meek about Mr. Katrovas."  The New York Times Review of Books RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA is by turns political and personal, honest and full of insight into the human condition, all filtered through a poet's thoughtful lens. Insightful rumination on being human across geographical and emotional divisions."  Rob LeFebvre, Shelf Awareness A fascinating nonfiction book about the author's struggle to raise his three girls in Prague, New Orleans, and Kalamazoo. It explores questions of how to raise women in a hostile society, what it means to be American vs. Czech, how to fall in and out of love, and . . . ideas of otherness."  Dana Norris, Story Studio Chicago The freshly written, deeply felt essays in RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA: MEDITATIONS OF AN AMERICAN FATHER were fascinating when first published individually in literary magazines. Richard Katrovas vividly conveys the complexity of the relationship between a father and his bilingual daughters who are being raised as citizens of two very different cultures. But to read these essays together adds a welcome sense of an overarching narrative, and dials the level of complexity higher still. The result is a vital, one-of-a-kind book." Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago . . . a potent, fascinating book." Tracy Kidder, author of Strength in What Remains A remarkable achievement, a heady ride, wise and knowing." (from the Foreword) Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education Sometimes a person is in the right place at the right time to witness history, which is lucky. Sometimes that person is a writer of Richard Katrovas's talent, which is even luckier. . . RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA is a clear-eyed, sure-handed, big-hearted book." Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Great with Child By the end of this book, he has, in fact, told the story of his generation, especially the men of his generation. The final essay,  Glenn Beck Is Not My Brother," is the best I know about the heartbreaking divisions in American society today." Mark Jarman, author of Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems If, as Socrates told us, the unexamined life is not worth living, Richard Katrovas demonstrates amply in RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA, that a life considered rationally, and with sensitivity, reveals insight both triumphant and heartbreaking. This is a fascinating book." Gerald Costanzo, director, Carnegie Mellon University Press At once deeply personal and strikingly erudite, Richard Katrovas's RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA is a remarkable achievement. In every piece the voice is authentically his . . . a true memoir and a satisfyingly thought-provoking read. Elise B. Jorgens, Provost Emerita, College of Charleston Speaking from first-hand knowledge, I can say that Richard Katrovas is an exemplary parent, friend, and colleague, generous, tough-minded, invigoratingly opinionated, and tender hearted. As a writer of prose and poetry, he is simply an international treasure." Arnold Johnston, author of The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns In these trenchant essays, Richard Katrovas strips away the gauzy romanticism of expatriate life to probe the challenges of raising three Czech-American daughters in a culture he cannot fully embrace and that can never fully embrace him in return. . . A must read for anyone interested in the literature of expatriation." Robert Eversz, author of Gypsy Hearts RAISING GIRLS IN BOHEMIA is a brave meditation on the hazards and fleeting forms of happiness available to a navigator of two divergent cultures. . . In these wide-ranging essays, Katrovas examines the nature of freedom, the artist's role in society, and the impossibility of ever really knowing someone, all with wit and wisdom. This is a wonderful collection." Christopher Merrill, author of The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War"Partly Mark Twain, partly Henry Miller. It is ferocious, tender, original." Gerald Stern, author of This Time: New and Selected Poems"Richard Katrovas is a fine writer...He makes the (reader) feel gratitude, and, in addition to illumination, friendship." James Dickey, poet, novelist, author of Deliverance"As Hemingway portrayed Paris of the twenties, Katrovas portrays...post-revolution Prague. Katrovas is a talented and honest writer who captures the unrenderable, sees the invisible, and makes the truth into poetry." Arnost Lustig, novelist and playwright, author of A Prayer for Katerina Horowitzowa"Richard Katrovas is the best of the new poets." Denis Johnson, poet and novelist, author of Tree of Smoke (winner, Pulitzer Prize)

EAN: 9781941110065
ISBN: 1941110061
Publisher: Three Rooms Press
Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 centimeters (0.27 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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