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Fiction General

Engineer of Human Souls

by (author) Josef Skvorecky

translated by Paul Wilson

Deep Vellum
Initial publish date
Feb 1999
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 1999
    List Price

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The Engineer of Human Souls is a labyrinthine comic novel that investigates the journey and plight of novelist Danny Smiricky, a Czech immigrant to Canada. As the novel begins, he is a professor of American literature at a college in Toronto. Out of touch with his young students, and hounded by the Czech secret police, Danny is let loose to roam between past and present, adopting whatever identity that he chooses or has been imposed upon him by History.

About the authors

JOSEF SKVORECKY is an award-winning author whose novels include The Cowards, The Bass Saxophone, The Swell Season and The Engineer of Human Souls. Among his numerous literary awards are the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1980), the Governor General’s Award for Fiction (1984) and the Czech Republic State Prize for Literature (1999). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1982, awarded the Order of the White Lion by the President of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel, in 1990, and in 1992 was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Josef Skvorecky's profile page

Paul Wilson is an award-winning freelance journalist, magazine editor, radio producer and translator of Czech literature. He has contributed essays, articles and reviews to many north American and European publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Starand other literary and general interest magazines including The Walrus, which he helped establish as deputy editor and then editor (2003-4), Saturday Night, where he was Senior Editor from 1998- 2001, The Idler(Associate Editor, 1988-1992), and Books in Canada. He has worked as a books producer for three national CBC Radio shows: The Arts Tonight, with Shelagh Rogers; Morningside, with Peter Gzowski, and This Morning with Michael Enright and Avril Benoit. He has translated many plays, essays, books, and speeches by Václav Havel. His translation of The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Škvorecký, was awarded the Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1984, and his translation of Ivan Klíma's My Golden Trades was short listed for the Independent newspaper's International Translation Award in 1993. His latest published translations include Mr. Kafka and Other Tales from the Time of the Cult (2015) and All My Cats (2019), both by Bohumil Hrabal.

Paul Wilson's profile page

Other titles by Josef Skvorecky

Other titles by Paul Wilson