Saturnin by Zdeněk Jirotka

On its initial publication in Czech in 1942, Saturnin was a best seller, its gentle satire offering an unexpected—if temporary—reprieve from the grim reality of the German occupation. In the years since, the novel has been hailed as a classic of Czech literature, and this translation makes it available to English-language readers for the first time—which is entirely appropriate, for author Zdenek Jirotka clearly modeled his light comedy on the English masters Jerome K. Jerome and P. G. Wodehouse. The novel’s main character, Saturnin, a “gentleman’s gentleman” who obviously owes a debt to Wodehouse’s beloved Jeeves, wages a constant battle to protect his master from romantic disaster and intrusive relatives, such as Aunt Catherine, the “Prancing Dictionary of Slavic Proverbs.” Saturnin will warm the heart of any fan of literary comedy.

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