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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Published in Budapest in 1985 (and later in several languages), this powerful autobiographical novel is Nadas's first appearance in English. In the tradition of Proust, he has composed a psychological work that celebrates the primacy of emotions, discriminating between shades of feeling and exploring the deepest currents of relationship among his characters along with their physical, sexual, and political aspects. A young, hypersensitive Hungarian writer recalls his uneasy Budapest childhood and his Seventies sojourn in East Berlin, where he worked closely with a famous, emotionally unstable actress whose sometime lover, a German poet, became the love of his life; interspersed are chapters from a novel he is writing about a 19th-century German writer whose passions and experiences mirror his own. This rewarding but demanding work, ideal for readers with the leisure and appetite for rich, intensive analysis and fine literary craftsmanship, is essential for for all collections of significant contemporary literature.?Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo,
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you enjoyed the flow, pace, construction and ease of Joyce's Ulysses, I think you'll equally enjoy A Book of Memories.Published 14 months ago by originalvagabond
If you enjoyed Proust or Musil you will gravitate to Nadas' great novel. Belongs on any short list of the best of 20th century Europe.Published on May 11, 2013 by Thomas E. Lloyd
Absolutely incredible, one of the best novels I have read in a decade, easily one of the top twenty novels of the past century - shades of Musil and McElroy with a hefty dose of... Read morePublished on July 10, 2012 by David C. Cain
Monumental work that stands comparison with Proust; It tells of all thr changes in post war Hungary and also paints an almost psychological portrait of an artist"s coming to grips... Read morePublished on October 23, 2011 by Clay Coury
I have a deep personal connection with this book. It was first published in Hungarian the year of my birth (also the year of Jean Genet's death). Read morePublished on March 26, 2011 by D. Moulton
If you like the work of Joseph Roth, Gregor von Rezzori, Proust or Stefan Zweig, I can't imagine you won't find astonishment and deep pleasure in this book.Published on July 11, 2008 by Craig Lucas
I know that its difficult to read this long novel, but if you read it once, you'll never forget it! This book of Nádas Péter is one of the greatest Hungarian and... Read morePublished on October 29, 2002 by Deziré
I cannot believe I wasted my time reading this long, overly dramatic, boring, pretentious drivel that strove much too hard to be art and ended up as good kindling.Published on January 17, 2001 by EriKa
Not a bad book, though a little hard to read. Nadas writes well, but he's no Proust or Musil, and it's difficult to become engrossed by this story.Published on August 31, 2000 by Heather Lowe