Summary (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
Daniel Smiricky, the narrator of The Engineer of Human Souls, writes by force of circumstance. He fled his native Czechoslovakia at the time of the Russian invasion, in 1968, and resettled in Toronto, Canada. Although he feels “utterly and dangerously wonderful in this wilderness land,” he is, nevertheless, a man on the margins of two cultures, East European and Western, belonging totally to neither. In 1976, he finds himself in the anomalous position of a Czech teaching American and English literature to blase Canadian and foreign students who are generally ignorant of world history and politics and largely insensitive to any language. As a writer, he is without a literary audience; as a teacher, he is without literary proselytes. Sadness pervades his life. Smiricky laments his disconnection from his past and dwells poignantly on the days of his ardent youth, days full of precious friends, loves, adventures, and delights. He mourns the plight of his homeland under German, then Russian, domination since World War II.
As Smiricky’s mind continually scans his own life, past and present, East and West, his personal narration constructs a historical, literary, and political picture of the last thirty years of international events. The Engineer of Human Souls’ unusual narrative structure consists of brief segments of experience, each only a few pages in length, each isolated like the separate frames of a film before it comes to life...
(The entire section is 917 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Engineer of Human Souls Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!