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Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories Paperback – January 30, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Here is a work that tackles - without reproof, without illusions, and without shallow moral judgements; by turns engaged and detached, funny and sad, tender and heartless - the phenomenon of anti-Semitism... the tragedy that changed the face of Europe and the world' Bruce Chatwin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: German
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 30, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679731822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679731825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,948,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gregor von Rezzori has taken some of the hardest things in the world to talk about and with them rendered stories that are decent, beautiful, and immensely entertaining. These are five stories that make up a novel, and it is not always apparent that the narrator is the same exact character from story to story, but the truth and the powerful feelings of each story present a great unity. In each chapter, the narrator grows close to a Jewish person who he loves and admires (though he has been taught to despise them as a class) and ends up hurting or failing them. Sounds monstrous, but it is a wonderful book.
I confidently recommend this book to anyone interested in modern literature and European history.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The writing style is brilliant. You feel like you are living side by side with the author, almost inside his skin, experiencing what he is experiencing, or perhaps at least you are an intimate friend, someone with whom he shares the details of his inner life as well as his worldly adventures.
While I read the book, I felt I was engaged in a relationship with a real person, sharing the sights and sounds of rural Rumania, the excitement of Bucharest, the conflicts and confusion he experiences as he faces life on his own and tries to sort out his feelings and experiences about the people he meets in light of the teachings of his family and society.
As someone mentioned in another review, Mr. Von Rezzori has the literary voice of a cultured, sensitive, articulate, sophisticated, intelligent, perceptive European. Many times, he charms you quite legitimately with the wit of the raconteur and the insight and agility of the boulevardier.
Although the beginning of the book is exciting and full of energy, the end is sad--in fact, deeply mournful--as the author recalls some deep regrets of his life.
This book is an interesting journey with an interesting, complex, and articulate man with a gift for literary intimacy.
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Format: Paperback
"Memoirs of an Anti-Semite" is a series of short stories, loosely connected and remotely chronological, which capture the inner turmoil and outer turbulence the narrator experiences while growing up in Eastern Europe between the Wars. Romantic Cafe's, spicy brothels, Viennese sophistication and Carpathian bleakness are but a few of the contrasting realities which continue to mold and shape the mind and soul of this young Rumanian. The pathological anti-Semitism he acquires while growing up in a petty bourgeois family in the Bukovina becomes an increasing source of irony in this novel, as the narrator finds himself surrounded more and more by Jewish friends and lovers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the suggestive title, this is NOT about or written by an antisemite. It is a colorful view of life in eastern Europe between the two World Wars. Very readable. Superb.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Here you have a a vanished world, vanished peoples, vanished borders and countries.
This is told from the perspective of a privileged kid growing-up to manhood in that period over the post WW I period.
The anti-semitism is very much tongue in cheek. There are no bullying brown or black shirted morons here.Not yet, at least.
However, the author does show how anti-antisemitism was ingrained in the Christian mind set and considered to be an unthinking natural state among the populations of many countries in central Europe in that period.
For me there was an awful feeling of doom as Jewish friends of the author discussed their future plans having no inkling that they were already doomed to live through and die in the horrors to come.
The book is rich in character and colour.
If you need answers as to what Middle Europe was really like then and how a passive antisemitism paved the way for full blooded genocide, read this. Hitler wasn't the only anti-semite in Europe. We all were, God help us!
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Format: Paperback
In this naturally flowing, brilliantly written, but also raging reactionary, prose Gregor von Rezzori brushes an in depth picture of the fate and the mentality of the aristocratic class during the first half of the 20th century. It is the world of the Dual Empire, of troth, but ultimate defeat by `the ruse of history'. It is the world of S. Zweig's `The World of Yesterday' and Joseph Roth's `The Emperor's Tomb'.

The Dual Empire and Troth
The Dual Empire was an idea and an ideal. It was Holy, because God's State on earth.
It had a constitution that offered uniform protection, leadership and administration to a gigantic territory inhabited by many nations and threatened by many dangers.
It was held together by the ethical principle of troth, loyalty, the allegiance of vassals, the unconditioned obedience that the liegemen had sworn to their lord and his flag, the two-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire.

The aristocratic class
The aristocracy of the 20th century was a class where `people were beginning to accept the notion that work was not necessarily shameful, `something my family still found hard to fathom.' `But anything connected with selling in a store was below social acceptance.'

The ruse of history: defeat
The aristocrats fought among themselves for European supremacy. They not only destroyed their own empire, but also that of their enemies (?). They destroyed the very thing they pretended to fight for: `ideals, holy traditions, values handed down for generations'.
They offered political and social power to `power-drunk demagogues mounted on a pedestal made up of interwoven interests - financial, mercantile and political'.
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