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Time's Magpie

A Walk in Prague

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Hardcover published by Crown (Crown Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Sometimes a city can be like a bird. Just as the magpie is an inveterate collector, hoarding beautiful eclectic bits to line its nest, so Prague retains fragments from bygone regimes and centuries past to create a city of juxtaposition that is alternately exquisite and bizarre.

Prague’s personality is expressed as much by its obvious beauty as by its overlooked details. This unforgettable place is brought to life by acclaimed author Myla Goldberg, a former Prague expat, whose first novel, Bee Season, captivated so many with its unique voice and exhilarating prose.

Myla Goldberg lived in Prague in 1993, just as the process of Westernization was getting under way, the city straddling a past it wished to shed and a future it was eager to embrace. In 2003, she returned to see what the pursuit of capitalism had wrought and to observe the integral ways in which Prague’s character had endured. In Time’s Magpie, Goldberg explores a city where centuries-old buildings have become receptacles for Western values and a generation defined by the Communist regime coexists with a generation for whom Communism is a rapidly fading memory.

Wander through the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets to places most tourists never see—to a neighborhood eerily transformed by the devastating flood of 2002; to an anachronistic amusement park that is home to a discomfiting array of Technicolor confections; and to the cabinets of curiosity in the Strahov Monastery, where hidden among deceptively modest displays of butterfly specimens and ladies’ fans are creatures that defy the laws of taxidermy. This imaginative, individualistic journey will show you the odd and unique corners of a city often seeking to erase what its very stones will not allow it to forget.
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Sometimes a city can be like a bird. Just as the magpie is an inveterate collector, hoarding beautiful eclectic bits to line its nest, so Prague retains fragments from bygone regimes and centuries past to create a city of juxtaposition that is alternately exquisite and bizarre.

Prague’s personality is expressed as much by its obvious beauty as by its overlooked details. This unforgettable place is brought to life by acclaimed author Myla Goldberg, a former Prague expat, whose first novel, Bee Season, captivated so many with its unique voice and exhilarating prose.

Myla Goldberg lived in Prague in 1993, just as the process of Westernization was getting under way, the city straddling a past it wished to shed and a future it was eager to embrace. In 2003, she returned to see what the pursuit of capitalism had wrought and to observe the integral ways in which Prague’s character had endured. In Time’s Magpie, Goldberg explores a city where centuries-old buildings have become receptacles for Western values and a generation defined by the Communist regime coexists with a generation for whom Communism is a rapidly fading memory.

Wander through the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets to places most tourists never see—to a neighborhood eerily transformed by the devastating flood of 2002; to an anachronistic amusement park that is home to a discomfiting array of Technicolor confections; and to the cabinets of curiosity in the Strahov Monastery, where hidden among deceptively modest displays of butterfly specimens and ladies’ fans are creatures that defy the laws of taxidermy. This imaginative, individualistic journey will show you the odd and unique corners of a city often seeking to erase what its very stones will not allow it to forget.
Product Details
Hardcover (144 pages)
Published: November 16, 2004
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Imprint: Crown
ISBN: 9781400046041
Other books byMyla Goldberg
  • Bee Season

    Bee Season
    A Novel
    Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos. Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt. Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg's first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.

    Wickett's Remedy

    Wickett's Remedy
    The triumphant follow-up to the bestselling Bee Season, Wickett’s Remedy is an epic but intimate novel about a young Irish-American woman facing down tragedy during the Great Flu epidemic of 1918. Wickett’s Remedy leads us back to Boston in the early part of the 20th century and into the world of Lydia, an Irish-American shop girl yearning for a grander world than the cramped confines of South Boston. She seems to be well on her way to the life she has dreamed of when she marries Henry Wickett, a shy medical student and the scion of a Boston Brahmin family. Soon after their wedding, however, Henry shocks Lydia by quitting medical school and creating a mail-order patent medicine called Wickett’s Remedy. And then just as the enterprise is getting off the ground, the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 begins its deadly sweep across the world, drastically changing their lives. In a world turned almost unrecognizable by swift and sudden tragedy, Lydia finds herself working as a nurse in an experimental ward dedicated to understanding the raging epidemic — through the use of human subjects. Meanwhile, we follow the fate of Henry’s beloved Wickett’s Remedy as his one-time business partner steals the recipe and transforms it into QD Soda, a wildly popular soft drink. Based on years of research and evoking actual events, Wickett’s Remedy perfectly captures the texture of the times and brings a colourful cast of characters vividly to life, including a sad and funny chorus of the dead. With wit and dexterity, Goldberg has fashioned a novel that is both charming and grand. Wickett’s Remedy announces her arrival as a major novelist. South Boston belonged to Lydia as profoundly and wordlessly as her thimble finger. Her knowledge of its streets was more complete than any atlas, her mental maps reflecting changes that occurred from season to season, day to day, and hour to hour. Each time she left 28 D Street — one among a row of identical triple-decker houses, the tenements lining the street like so many stained teeth — her route reflected this internal almanac. . . . For ten years this was enough. Then in fifth grade, Lydia saw a city map and realized her entire world was a mitten dangling from Boston’s sleeve. Across the bridge lay Washington Street — the longest street in all New England — which began like any other but then continued north, a single determined thread of cobblestone that wove itself through every town from Boston to Providence. Once Lydia saw Washington Street she knew she could not allow it to exist without her. —excerpt from Wickett's Remedy From the Hardcover edition.

    The False Friend

    The False Friend
    From the bestselling author of Bee Season comes an astonishingly complex psychological drama with a simple setup: two  eleven-year-old girls, best friends and fierce rivals, go into the woods. Only one comes out . . . Leaders of a mercurial clique of girls, Celia and Djuna reigned mercilessly over their three followers. One after­noon, they decided to walk home along a forbidden road. Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened. The lie Celia told to conceal her misdeed became the accepted truth: everyone assumed Djuna had been abducted, though neither she nor her abductor was ever found. Celia’s unconscious avoidance of this has meant that while she and her longtime boyfriend, Huck, are professionally successful, they’ve been unable to move forward, their relationship falling into a rut that threatens to bury them both. Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, but her family and childhood friends don’t believe her. Huck wants to be supportive, but his love can’t blind him to all that contra­dicts Celia’s version of the past. Celia’s desperate search to understand what happened to Djuna has powerful consequences. A deeply resonant and emotionally charged story, The False Friend explores the adults that children become—leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, as well as the lies to which we succumb. From the Hardcover edition.

    Significant Objects

    Significant Objects
    100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic Experiment Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales. That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way. But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination? The founders of the Significant Objects project, that’s who. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment; you’ll never look at a thrift-store curiosity the same way again. FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES BY: Chris Adrian • Rob Agredo • Kurt Andersen • Rachel Axler • Rob Baedeker • Nicholson Baker â€¢ Rosecrans Baldwin â€¢ Matthew Battles â€¢ Charles Baxter â€¢ Kate Bernheimer â€¢ Susanna Breslin â€¢ Kevin Brockmeier â€¢ Matt Brown â€¢ Blake Butler â€¢ Meg Cabot â€¢ Tim Carvell â€¢ Patrick Cates â€¢ Dan Chaon â€¢ Susanna Daniel â€¢ Adam Davies â€¢ Kathryn Davis â€¢ Matthew De Abaitua â€¢ Stacey â€¢ D'Erasmo â€¢ Helen DeWitt â€¢ Doug Dorst â€¢ Mark Doty â€¢ Ben Ehrenreich â€¢ Mark Frauenfelder â€¢ Amy Fusselman â€¢ William Gibson â€¢ Myla Goldberg â€¢ Ben Greenman â€¢ Jason Grote â€¢ Jim Hanas â€¢ Jennifer Michael Hecht â€¢ Sheila Heti â€¢ Christine Hill â€¢ Dara Horn â€¢ Shelley Jackson â€¢ Heidi Julavits â€¢ Ben Katchor â€¢ Matt Klam â€¢ Wayne Koestenbaum â€¢ Josh Kramer â€¢ Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer â€¢ Neil LaBute â€¢ Victor LaValle â€¢ J. Robert Lennon â€¢ Jonathan Lethem â€¢ Todd Levin â€¢ Laura Lippman â€¢ Mimi Lipson â€¢ Robert Lopez â€¢ Joe Lyons â€¢ Sarah Manguso â€¢ Merrill Markoe â€¢ Tom McCarthy â€¢ Miranda Mellis â€¢ Lydia Millet â€¢ Maud Newton â€¢ Annie Nocenti â€¢ Stephen O’Connor â€¢ Stewart O’Nan â€¢ Jenny Offill â€¢ Gary Panter â€¢ Ed Park â€¢ James Parker â€¢ Benjamin Percy â€¢ Mark Jude Poirier â€¢ Padgett Powell â€¢ Bob Powers â€¢ Todd Pruzan â€¢ Dan Reines â€¢ Nathaniel Rich â€¢ Peter Rock â€¢ Lucinda Rosenfeld â€¢ Greg Rowland â€¢ Luc Sante â€¢ R.K. Scher â€¢ Toni Schlesinger â€¢ Matthew Sharpe â€¢ Jim Shepard â€¢ David Shields â€¢ Marisa Silver â€¢ Curtis Sittenfeld â€¢ Bruce Sterling â€¢ Scarlett Thomas â€¢ Jeff Turrentine â€¢ Deb Olin Unferth â€¢ Tom Vanderbilt â€¢ Matthew J. Wells â€¢ Joe Wenderoth â€¢ Margaret Wertheim â€¢ Colleen Werthmann â€¢ Colson Whitehead â€¢ Carl Wilson â€¢ Cintra Wilson â€¢ Sari Wilson â€¢ Douglas Wolk â€¢ John Wray

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