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Tranquility Paperback – Deckle Edge, October 24, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Archipelago; 1st Paperback Edition edition (October 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980033004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980033007
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The first work by Bartis to be translated into English follows Ander Weer through 15 years dominated by his oedipal relationship with his agoraphobic mother, Rebeka, while, outside, Hungary transitions from Soviet satellite to independent state. Star of Hungarian stage and screen, Rebeka is humiliatingly demoted from lead actress to supporting role in an underhanded bid to pressure her into convincing her daughter, a concert violinist, to return to Hungary. Instead, Rebeka declares her daughter dead and retreats into her apartment, where she remains until her death. Ander becomes complicit in his mother's isolation and fuels the growing oddity of their relationship by writing brief letters to his mother as though they were written by his sister. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Eszter, grows increasingly unstable as Ander refuses to leave his mother for her. Oddly beautiful and unsettling, the novel boldly illustrates the lengths people go to in securing their own private hells.
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Review

Reading like the bastard child of Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek, Tranquility is political and personal suffering distilled perfectly and transformed into dark, viscid beauty. It is among the most haunted, most honest, and most human novels I have ever read. —Brian Evenson

A venerable—even Endgame-ish—addition to the literature of unhappy families. —Rivka Galchen

With impressive force of language, Bartis succeeds in laying bare the ambivalences of his characters, their love-hate relationships and self destructive energies . . . The play that mother and son perform . . . is part Strindberg and part Chekhov, but mostly sheer Beckett or even pure theater of cruelty. —Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Oddly beautiful and unsettling, the novel boldly illustrates the lengths people go to in securing their own private hells. —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By buchwurm on February 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
In brief: a young man tries to cope with the love-hate relationship that binds him to his narcissistic and dominant mother and determines his entire life.

Highly recommended. I've read the Hungarian original and Goldstein's rendering won the Best Translated Book Award in 2008 so I hope that this masterpiece will be widely read by English speakers - it really deserves attention.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alison Daniel on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps like most people on this site, I read a lot. Often I'm left wondering why as so many books are disappointing. Fear not. Bartis' 'Tranquility' is engrossing, beautifully crafted and a delight to read.

His descriptions are sublime, unique and poetic.

The book itself is fine. From the size of it, the way the writing is spaced, the texture of the pages, it all presents a sensual delight for the fingers and eyes.

If you like books about and for the human condition, our awful rawness, our lies and deceptions, our truth and the way we love and hate, our society and climate, how it effects who we are, if you enjoy beautifully woven words and an intense comand of language, this is the book for you.

It is one of my all time favourites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mirrani on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Tranquility is anything but. This is an intense novel about a writer and his mixed up life. It gets racy, it gets emotionally violent, it has moments of pure insanity, but it is very, very good at all that it does. I was often finding myself drawn deeply into the emotion of the main character, the author who is dealing with his elderly, nutty actress-mother and his love life that has gone awry because of said mother and his living conditions with her. You don't have to have experienced what the narrator has experienced in order to become emotionally attached to what has happened to him because of the wonderful way this book is written.

The plot jumps around a lot and there were times when I felt somewhat lost as to where I had stopped reading. Several times I found myself wondering if my bookmark slipped and was put back in a different page than I remembered, either because the words I were reading felt like exact copies of what I had read before or because I felt so totally lost between what had happened and what was happening that I feared I'd skipped some pages. This writing style is part of the charm of the book, however and after a time you become used to it for the most part, though I wouldn't say it was my favorite aspect of the story.

People unwilling to read about intense sexual situations should probably avoid this book, as there are interactions with prostitutes, lovers and the narrator's mother that can become quite graphic at times. However, if that is your only reason to avoid reading, you might want to blush your way through the meat of the story because the emotional journey of the book combined with the quality of the writing shouldn't be missed.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judith C. Ryfinski on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My copy of this book was in great condition and was sent in a timely manner.
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