A Book of Memories is made up of three first-person narratives:
The first, that of a young Hungarian writer and his fated love for a German poet; we also learn of the narrator's adolescence in Budapest, when he experiences the downfall of his once upper-class but now pro-Communist family.
A second memoir, alternating with the first, is a novel the narrator is composing about a refined Belle Epoque aesthete, whose anti-bourgeois transgressions seem like emotionally overcharged versions of the narrator's own experiences.
A third voice is that of a childhood friend who, after the narrator's return to his homeland, offers an apparently more objective account of their friendship.
Together these brilliantly coloured lives are integrated into a powerful work of tragic intensity.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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 ageing 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 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.Review:
"Original and exhilarating work that demands to be read again" ( Sunday Times)
"The greatest novel written in our time, one of the great books of the century" (Susan Sontag)
"One of the most important novels of our time" ( Times Literary Supplement)
"The monumental event of recent Hungarian history, the fated uprising of 1956, is accounted for in the most affecting manner imaginable in these haunted pages" ( Daily Telegraph)
"What makes this Book of Memories so memorable is the sheer quality of the prose, its subtlety and intelligence, which shines through what seems an elegant and unobtrusively American translation" ( The Times)
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140275673
Book Description Penguin Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1998. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. Drawings (illustrator). Reprint Edition. Tradepaper. 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
Book Description Penguin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New item. Bookseller Inventory # QX-007-37-5922105
Book Description Penguin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140275673