Peter Nadas A Book of Memories

ISBN 13: 9780140275674

A Book of Memories

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9780140275674: A Book of Memories

First published in Hungary in 1986 after a five-year battle with censors, A Book of Memories is both a confessional autobiographical novel and psychological inquest into the repressed nightmares of Europe's recent past.

The novel revolves around several multilayered, elaborately linked narratives. The first, set against the backdrop of 1970s East Berlin, is that of an emotionally tormented young Hungarian writer who is enmeshed in an amorous triad with a German poet and an aging temperamental actress. The second narrative is a novel the narrator is composing about a turn-of-the-century German aesthete, whose anti-bourgeois transgressions and hypersensitivity mirror those of his creator. A final voice is that of a childhood friend who, after the narrator's death, offers his own perspective on their friendship and on the events that shaped their lives.

With a hypnotic attention to sensuous detail conveyed in a prose as lush as it is elegantly precise, Pter Ndas's work is certain to endure both as a brilliant inquiry into the varieties of sexual, artistic, and political passion, and as an important moral expression of the public and private soul of twentieth-century Europe.

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Review:

A Book of Memories is a novel within a novel. The outer shell of Hungarian author Peter Nadas's ambitious tale concerns a nameless Hungarian writer and his ménage à trois with an aging actress and a younger man in East Germany. While the contemporary writer's own story unfolds, he is busily at work on an historical novel about a German novelist named Thomas Thoenissen. As if a novel about a novelist writing about a novelist wasn't confusing enough, the two fictional writers have a great deal in common, including an unnatural affection for their mothers and a predilection for bisexual triangles. Throw into this already heady brew a great deal of Eastern European cold-war politics, and it becomes obvious that A Book of Memories requires a serious commitment from the reader.

Moving in time between the old Stalinist era and post-communist Eastern Europe, Peter Nadas convincingly conveys the effects of communism, both as it happened and as it collapsed. In his unnamed narrator he creates a perfect conduit between two times; the narrator grew up in a privileged communist family, the son of the state prosecutor in a Stalinist regime. In chronicling the boy's passage from child to man, Nadas paints a vivid portrait of the secrecy, fear, and tension in a society in which the personal and the political are often one and the same.

About the Author:

Péter Nádas is the author of the novels A Book of Memories, The End of a Family Story, and Love.  He lives in Gombosszeg, in western Hungary.

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Peter Nadas
Published by Penguin Books (1998)
ISBN 10: 0140275673 ISBN 13: 9780140275674
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Book Description Penguin Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1998. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. Drawings (illustrator). Reprint Edition. N/none, pb, 275 pp. Illustrated stiff paper wraps with white and black colored text on upper and spine; no chips or tears; not spine creased. Interior pages clean, unmarked. Binding is straight and tight. Bookseller Inventory # 015478

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