Frivolity, joy and self discovery are the things which, Les Stein, the protagonist of Wagon 537 Christiania, arrives at in his two-year sojourn in the freetown of Christiania. Fleeing from a world of angst and stress, longing for the woman who left him, and frustrated with the stale facets of modern life such as his university studies Stein develops a new understanding of love, independence and self realization.
Told in a witty, fast paced style, Smidl’s novel is both provocative and celebratory. He hails the human spirit and calls on all of us to live simpler and more free whether this living occurs inside or outside of Christiania. A novel of joy and brightness that records history as it makes it.
Per Šmidl lived at the Freetown Christinia for two years. His autobiographical novel “Wagon 537 Christiania” describes the life there among people with an individual and original approach to life, curious tourists, anarchists and what ever category of people you can think of. He does so in direct terms and with a wamth that makes you feel like you are there yourself.
Per Šmidl lived for two years in Wagon 537 at Christiania. Then he moved to Paris, then California and when he got back to Denmark he wrote the bestseller Chop Suey. Many years as a political dissident in Prague followed after the publication in Denmark of his book Victim of Welfare in 1995. The book challenged the role and freedom of the individual in the welfare state. Some of the previous publications by Per Šmidl includes the novel Mathias Kraft, 1999, and the essay ”Ytringsfrihed,” which means “Freedom of Speech,” 2006.
“Per Šmidl lived it, and now he has written it – in compelling, page-turning prose. He has written a novel about it for those of us who were not there, but want to see how it was. Read his novel and it will put you right there and make you know what a fabulous, exciting time it was. And even if you were there, Šmidl’s prose will make you remember in detail how wonderful it was to be young and how wonderful it can be to be older. Wagon 537 Christiania by Per Šmidl is a book of delights, full of the joy of life and of alternate possibilities”.
—Thomas E. Kennedy, Author of The Copenhagen Quartet
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