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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A. V (Phoenix Fiction) Paperback – October 15, 1990

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A funny novel about sex, or rather (which is rarer) a novel which is funny as well as touching about sex ... elegant, exact and melodious -- Isabel Quigly Sunday Telegraph The delicious adventures of a young Casanova who appreciates maturity while acquiring it himself. In turn naive, sophisticated, arrogant, disarming, the narrator woos his women and his tale wins the reader -- Polly Devlin Vogue Spectacular! It's always a risky business, re-reading a book which was important to you in your adolescence. But re-reading this one, I was struck by a great deal that I missed before ... a much richer book than I remembered. Immensely pleasurable. -- A. A. Gill (2010) A skinny book with a funny name, a title I didn't know, by an author I'd never heard of, which turns out to be just wonderful -- John Self (2010) theasylum.wordpress.com In Praise of Older Women is as singular as a lemon tree or a giraffe or a ripe pear.In a voice free of vanity and subterfuge, the writer tells a story of the worst of times, and the ever-shifting truths about girls and youths, men and women and their sexual connections--and mis-connections--in a way that is always luminous and enlightening. Paula Fox

From the Publisher

The latest 1999 printing is the forty-fourth printing of the English-language edition; it is the fourth printing of the University of Chicago Press edition. Translations of the novel went through over a hundred printings.

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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Fiction
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (October 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226858863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226858869
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Krupin on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Like most classic novels, "In Praise of Older Women" is a simple and wise book. I consider my life meaningfully enriched by having read it. (And how many books can you say that about?) I can understand why the author (to whom I give my thanks) pursued the dubious expedient of personally promoting it here. It cries to be read! But I fear that its European sanity with regards to the eternal dance between men and women will always be a foreign tongue to American readers, saddled as we are with the sexual neuroses of our Purtian founders. What Vizinczey has learned about women, and which he has graciously shared with us, is not feminist and it is not politically correct. It is simply true. People who value doctrinal conformity over thoughtful perception had better stick to Oprah-approved novels instead. Those seeking to understand our human nature a little better before it is lost to the grave are well-advised to start here.
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Format: Paperback
This is the author. I think those who like my work may be pleased to learn that the French edition of the novel, which was published a month ago along with my Truth and Lies in Literature, is already in its 3rd printing and has received favourable reviews. The 5 stars is a summary of the review of the French edition of In Praise of Older Women in the 25 May 2001 issue of LE MONDE. Here is a translation of some extracts: "... For eight years, living from hand to mouth, Vizinczey learned to become a writer in a language of exile. At the end of his apprenticeship, he published a masterpiece, In Praise of Older Women... At the price of discouraging some readers who are fond of sexual spectacles and amorous gymnastics, it has to be said that the novel, far from being about fantasies and neuroses, seeks, like all great novels, to teach those who read it the truth about life. It is a novel of apprenticeship which would be a good thing to offer to young people of both sexes as soon as they approach the enchanted and agonizing shores of sexuality... ... Faced with the youth cult and the barriers between age-classes which bear down on modern societies, where each generation seems to belong to a different period of history, Vajda-Vizinczey "having been lucky enough to grow up in what was still an integrated society", wishes to help to bring about a better understanding of "the truth that men and women have a great deal in common even if they were born years apart". Vajda begins from a simple observation: when adolescent boys and girls, knowing nothing about life and the other sex, want to begin lovemaking, they do it so clumsily, with so many fears, anxieties, preconceived notions and models furnished by bad books that what ought to be a pleasure turns into a struggle.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Philosophers and critics like to remind us that a literary work of art is a multi-layered creation. Children and adolescents tend to focus on one of the easily accessible layers or strata, the plot. The setting, pulse, and outcome of the narrative - Crusoe's island or D'Artagnan's adventures - are the main sources of their interest and delight. As they grow older, many of them acquire the habit of going beyond the tale and detect an authentic spiritual vision - a vision that expands and transforms their own way of seeing the world. There are, of course, some adult readers whose sensibility never reaches this stage.
Stephen Vizinczey's In Praise of Older Women, like all meaningful classic, can be truly appreciated if we learn to cleanse the doors of our perception and "read well". By adopting a more "literate" approach, we are not so much concerned with Hungary or Canada indigence or wealth, thirst for sensuality or "heavy virtue". Rather, we come to realize that the story is centered on the nature of communication between human beings, on the reason of its ultimate success or failure. If you look for a verbose, graphic, and "three-dimensional" narrative, Vizinczey is not your author. If you want to know how, today just as much as yesterday, people love, or think they love, someone, and why older women are more beautiful than the younger ones, read this humorous and truthful masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
I first wanted to read this book when I was in high school, however, my mother would not allow it. Stephen Vizinczey is a cousin of my father's and that is how I arrived at an interest in his work. After reading the book, now at the age of 28, I can understand why my mother would not allow me to read it at such a young age. The book revels in a young man's quest of sexual experiences and learnings with the opposite sex. It is not detailed in the sense of a steamy harlequin (thank goodness!). Instead, the book entails more of an open aired and very tasteful approach to the combined meaning of sex, relationships, and life. I disagree with some of the other reviews which regard the book as what it is like to be a young male in hungarian nationality. The book begins in that part of the world, however, being a first generation American from Hungarian descent, I believe that this book is true to the male species in any culture. The book is amusing and light hearted and is a must read no matter where you are from.
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