I just finished the book I, City by Pavel Brycz. I received this book as a gift while in college and only just now got around to reading it. I quite liked it. It tells the story of a town called Most in the Czech Republic. It is told from the perspective of the city itself (hence the title of the book), as if the city were a living, breathing organism, representing the collective unconscious of the city’s inhabitants.
The book is comprised of short chapters that detail a variety of inhabitants in the city. In one chapter, the city describes looking in on a coffee shop at three seventeen year old boys discussing Sigmund Freud, dream interpretations, and suicide. Other chapters detail Russia’s occupation of Most in 1968, a young woman with a pair of pumps full of her blood from walking for miles to return home to her parents, a depressed, heartbroken man who is saved, body and soul, by a young Gypsy woman, and a Bulgarian circus performer named Nina Dimitrova who tames polar bears.
It’s equal parts history, personal accounts, humor, reflection, idiosyncratic thoughts, and really illustrates the essence of the city. You can really see its inhabitants by being able to squeeze into places a typical story otherwise may not have been able to: inside abandoned homes, suspended over streets, almost as if you’re walking and floating through the city as an invisible observer. Very original and interesting book.