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Parallel Stories [Kindle Edition]

Peter Nádas
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

In 1989, the memorable year when the Wall came down, a university student in Berlin on his early morning run finds a corpse lying on a park bench and alerts the authorities. This classic police-procedural scene opens an extraordinary novel, a masterwork that traces the fate of myriad Europeans - Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Gypsies - across the treacherous years of the mid-twentieth century. The social and political circumstances of their lives may vary richly, their sexual and spiritual longings may seem to each of them entirely unique, yet Peter Nádas's magnificent tapestry unveils uncanny, reverberating parallels that link them across time and space.

Three unusual men are at the heart of Parallel Stories: Hans von Wolkenstein, whose German mother is linked to dark secrets of fascist-Nazi collaboration during the 1940s, Ágost Lippay-Lehr, whose influential father has served Hungary's different political régimes for decades, and Andras Rott, who has his own dark record of dark activities abroad. They are friends in Budapest when we eventually meet them in the spring of 1961, a pivotal time in the postwar epoch and in their clandestine careers. But the richly detailed, dramatic memories and actions of these men, like those of their friends, lovers and family members, range from Berlin and Moscow to Switzerland and Holland, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, and of course, across Hungary. The ever-daring, ever-original episodes of Parallel Lives explore the most intimate, most difficult human experiences in a prose glowing with uncommon clarity and also with mysterious uncertainty - as is characteristic of Nadas's subtle, spirited art.

The web of extended dramas in Parallel Stories reaches not just forward to the transformative year of 1989 but back to the spring of 1939, with Europe trembling on the edge of war; to the bestial times of 1944-45, when Budapest was besieged, the final solution devastated Hungary's Jews, and the war came to an end; and to the cataclysmic Hungarian Revolution of October 1956. But there is much more to Parallel Stories than that: it is a daring, demanding, and very moving exploration of humanity at its most constrained and its most free.

Editorial Reviews


"A virtuoso combination of nineteenth-century high realism with the experimentalism of the nouveau roman...the real narrative is that of bodies' actions on one another, their attraction and desires, their mutual memories" -- Gabor Csordas "No writer in Europe today has dealt more eloquently with the obligations and moral conundrums of memory, private and collective, than the Hungarian novelist and essayist Peter Nadas" New York Times "It's with remarkable dexterity that Nadas splices together the political, sexual and emotional histories of two families, the Hungarian Lippay Lehrs and the German Dohrings" -- Thomas Marks Telegraph "A fiendishly complex plot that leaps in time throughout the 20th century, and in a place through Mitteleuropa" -- Toby Clements Sunday Telegraph "Nadas is closer to Proust and Musil, and even to Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, in his ultra-Freudian, or Lacanian approach... There are instances of real enchantment in Nadas' book" -- George Gomori Literary Review

About the Author

Peter Nadas was born in Budapest in 1942. Among his works translated into English are the novels A Book of Memories, The End of a Family Story, and Love; a collection of stories and essays, Fire and Knowledge and two pieces of short fiction, A Lovely Tale of Photography and Peter Nadas: Own Death. He lives with his wife in Gombosszeg, Hungary.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2196 KB
  • Print Length: 1156 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0224094009
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0069SQ2XG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,300,072 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Regret Buying It January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I find it hard to believe how badly written is this vague, rambling novel and how pretentious. I am 14 percent of the way through and unlikely to persist. How did such fragile characterisation and amateurish plotting not have the work rejected by the publisher? Take one point. Several chapters are set in Budapest in 1961, a vivid enough locale. But there is not the faintest sense of place, none of the character of a city that had been occupied by the Nazis only 16 years earlier and seen an anti communist uprising in 1956. No sense of its streetscapes or coffee shop culture or political ferment. I had to make a note of character's names to follow the action. To take a whole chapter to describe the purchase of a pair of underpants..! A post-modernist indulgence.
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