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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of András Vajda
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of András Vajda

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  848 ratings  ·  83 reviews
"A cool, comic survey of the sexual education of a young Hungarian, from his first encounter, as a twelve-year-old refugee with the American forces, to his unsatisfactory liaison with a reporter's wife in Canada at the belated end of his youth, when he was twenty-three . . . elegantly erotic, with masses of that indefinable quality, style . . . this has the real stuff of i ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 15th 1990 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1965)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Despite the outstanding humor, this book saddened me. I read it too late. Had I managed to get hold of this masterpiece when I was a teenager, I would have had a more colorful and satisfactory sex life.

I won't spoil your fun of reading it by giving you the plot. But the author's dedication and a quote from Benjamin Franklin in its first chapter would give you an idea of what the book is all about. The dedication reads:

"This book is dedicated to older women
and is addressed to young men--
and the c
...more
Trish
On my first day back to reading friends’ comments on Goodreads after a hiatus of several months, I came across a reference to Stephen Vizinczey. For the months I was away, I hadn’t been able to concentrate on reading myself, but I was anxious to write again. Since my blog is about reading, however, I could only really write if I could read. The title of this book appealed to me and I would see if perhaps I could concentrate.

In Praise… is fiction in the guise of autobiography. The young male char
...more
Pablo
Fantastic book. I'm inspired!

Vizinczey, for a non-native English speaker, has a marvellous command of the English language. Highly recommended.

A few gems:

At the age of nine-ten:

Just before we stepped out into the street, I pinched her bottom. She pretended not to notice, but blushed deeply. I decided then to marry Aunt Alice when I grew up, for she understood me.


At the age of fourteen-fifteen, and some failures with girls of his age:

Our English teacher told us that Romeo and Juliet was about the
...more
Lisa Lieberman
Terribly clever, but not in an arch way. Vizinczey's worldliness is somehow fresh. Only at the end of the book does he begin to look at life with tired eyes, no longer quite so eager to embrace (literally and figuratively) all it offers. I especially enjoyed how the budding writer, as an adolescent, applied the lessons he learned from great nineteenth-century authors to his own seduction campaigns:
Perhaps if I hadn't been reading Anna Karenina I wouldn't have been struck by the fact that she was
...more
Darran Mclaughlin
An excellent book. In Praise of Older Women is sexy without being sexist, warm and funny. It has a European sophistication and worldliness without being dry. Vizinczey has a positive attitude in spite of describing going through horrific situations like fleeing the Nazi, participating in the attempted revolution against the Soviets in 56 and becoming a refugee, leaving behind his family and friends. This should be a cult classic that young people read as eagerly as Salinger or Kerouac.
Tyler
I think maybe I was expecting something more like a literary equivalent of Francois Truffaut's The Man Who Loved Women: a chronicle of obsessive skirt-chasing that starts out breezy and frivolous, but ends up as a surprisingly poignant picture of a life spent in lust. Unfortunately, this book is nothing so deep, and it's not even really that entertaining. No book of "amorous recollections" should be as lifeless and unengaging as this one. Each one of the book's series of women are rendered in su ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
That Vizinczey is a nuanced writer is beyond doubt. Being a European immigrant, he has brilliant command over English language and his amorous descriptions have a subtle wisdom to them. Here is a book which charts the various flings a man has had in his youth, and there was no way I'd have bothered to read it had the book restricted itself to just that. It's a sympathetic and delightful account of the sexual education of one Andras Vajda. For Andras, older women are a medium to learn not only ab ...more
Bev
It's hard to believe that I now fit in Andras Vadja's definition of the "older woman" (30s and 40s).....

This is a lushly erotic book that still manages to provide several coy refusals. Just like the experiences cataloged in the amorous recollections of Andras Vadja. It is an engrossing story of a young man growing up among older women; learning to love and to make love from older women...and doing it while going through war and revolution and personal discovery. It has all the eroticism of a tru
...more
Bastian Greshake
Yet another review on a subject I'm totally biased on. With only one notable exception I've only had serious relationships with what would qualify for 'older women' in the sense of this book, so take this with the needed grain of salt.

Vizinczey gives his motivation for this semi-autobiographical book right away in the introduction: “This book is addressed to young men and dedicated to older women – and the connection between the two is my proposition. I'm not an expert on sex, but I was a good
...more
Andrew
Well, this is interesting. I picked up this book because I remembered seeing the movie on television many years ago when I must have been in my mid-teems. My memory has it that it was a Francois Truffaut directed movie, but having checked this just now I see that I might be confusing it with Truffaut's "The Man Who Loved Women". Yet I'm certain there was a section in the movie featuring a woman who was 'frigid' and therefore I guess it must have been George Kaczender's 1978 "In Praise Of Older W ...more
Thechicgeek
In Praise of Older Women is delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Vizincezey's charming tale and his joy and praise for women. I found myself smiling and laughing as I read along with his adventures. This is a man I would love to meet! If you're looking for a light and fun escape from the world, open and read this classic! You won't be disappointed.
Philipp
A lot of fun and the kind of book I wish I had read earlier, at, let's say, around 16? Contains immense respect and love towards humans, especially women. And it's fun!

Recommended for: people who visit Reddit's redpill, so they can see what they're missing, stuck in their weird worldview.
Michael D
A well written bildungsroman of a Hungarian man and his troubled entrance into the sexual arena - I loved the distant gaze of the main character and his descriptions of sex, war and emotional intrigue ring totally true. Not a word wasted either - always a good thing.
Justin Rock
I wish I would have found this book when I was 16. This journey of a young man discovering and exploring his sexuality is both humorous and tragic. Mostly, this book offers a glimpse into the human experience and struggles of relating to others sexually.
Kakanier
Die deutsche Übersetzung ist leider viel lebendiger als das englische Original. Vizinczey hat es ein bischen zu ernst genommen mit der Knappheit.
Georg
If you like the English language, if you like sex, and if you like Hungary (no particular order here), this is your book.
Manny
I read a few pages once while browsing in a bookshop. Maiden aunts, stay well clear.
DoctorM
Anyone who knows me should be well aware of the irony here--- someone with my tastes in lovely young companions reading a book with this title when I could be pursuing leggy comp-lit co-eds. Still...it's a rather clever Bildungsroman, a lovely tale about a young Hungarian emigre and the lessons about life and love he learns from a series of older women. Vizinczey toys with making his hero (who may just be his alter ego) a kind of Julien Sorel, but then moves away from the darker side of that lin ...more
Kape
This is definitely one of the best books I've read. I am only sorry that I haven't read it when I was younger as it think it would've helped me understand relationships with women much better and not make bunch of mistakes I've made as an adolescent.

However, I definitely think Vizinczey's best book is An Innocent Millionaire. If you can find it (because it is out of print) - pick it up and read it... it contains so many insights and for me - it's definitely a masterpiece that can rightfully stan
...more
Ed
A terrific book. Published in 1965.
A young man comes of age in post-war, USSR-occupied Hungary. He convincingly conveys the drabness, tedium, loss of freedom of speech and pervasive fear in the police state that Hungary became. He eagerly participates in the 1956 uprising, yet he notes, "[I] could not feel a sense of righteousness: fighting against Russian occupation and a vicious and incompetent dictatorship, I found myself shooting at bewildered Ukrainian peasant boys who had as much reason to
...more
Ahmed Moghazy
رواية غريبة بعض الشيء، فهي تسرد سيرة بطلها الهنغاري أندراش من خلال إستعراض تجاربه مع النساء الناضجات من بداية مراهقته حتى أواخر عشريناته، مع تعديده لأسباب تفضيلة للنساء الناضجات عن الفتيات المراهقات أو الشابات من ذات عمره، وفي نفس الوقت يستعرض أحوال بلاده في تلك الفترة المضطربة من وقت الحرب العالمية الثانية و الإجتياح النازي، ثم تحت الحكم الشيوعي بعدما إنضمت بلاده للمعسكر الشرقي إبان الحرب الباردة، وصولا للإجتياح السوفييتي الذي أدى لهجرته إلى كندا و منها إلى أمريكا في نهاية الرواية.
الرواية مكتوب
...more
Mads
I was crazy about this book when I was in high school. I liked the line about how young lovers are like the blind leading the blind. According to the author, the younger man-older woman is more of a European tradition. They have a "healthy" respect for age. While Americans are freakishly obsessed with youth. I'm not sure about Asian cultures? Maybe too diverse to give a sweeping statement?
Lisa
Engaging and written beautifully, with the kind of lucid and simple English that a lot of writers probably aspire to. It's funny and warm, and makes a refreshing change to read about a man who just loves women, especially the older ones.
Jarvo
Milan Kundera once opined that the people of central Europe got through the period of Soviet domination through having as much sex as often and as guiltlessly as possible. This book does nothing to undermine that theory (although the narrator does choose to flee Hungary after the '56 uprising). It is a cool, laconic and amusing book which, in keeping with the title, suggests that young men would be better advised to start their proceedings with women who've had a chance to work through their iss ...more
Chris
So far so good. Some parts might annoy a female reader, but otherwise no complaints. It's a sort of coming of age memoir, no pun intended.
Jay
I read this after seeing the movie based on this book. Stephen Vizinczey does a great job of making his story clear and personable.
Landjonker
A gracefully written story of a young man and his liaison with an older woman that aroused my imagination delightfully. . .
Shawn
This book came highly recommended to me, with the promise that it would contain deep truths about life. I didn't find those. This book is exactly what it claims to be: amorous recollections -- more specifically, the amorous recollections of a teenage boy/later young man and his multiple seductions of older women. In the course of said seductions, the narrator is prone to say things like "I wish I could rape you." One could argue that this is not an abnormal thought for an adolescent boy to have, ...more
Morgan M
I got this book in the mail earlier today and finished it in two sittings. It wasn't compelling but it was easy to read and short.

The first half of his story felt very genuine. There was pain and self-discovery in the sex. I also enjoyed coming to the baseless conclusion that he had spent a lifetime rationalizing / adjusting to a boyhood fetish and teenage trauma.

The back half read like a soap opera. The age gap grew smaller and at a point it was simply bragging about being the third-party in ex
...more
Eli Shallcross
Absolutely loved this book! great read
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Sexy Mature Ladies 1 12 Feb 25, 2012 10:21AM  
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Hungarian author who studied under George Lukacs at the University of Budapest and graduated from the city's Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in 1956. Two of his plays were banned by the Hungarian Communist regime and in he took part in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. After a short stay in Italy, he ended up in Canada speaking only 50 words of English, and eventually taking Canadian citizenship. He ...more
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“I wonder, what kind of life would I have had if it hadn’t been for my mother’s tea-and-cookie parties? Perhaps it’s because of them that I’ve never thought of women as my enemies, as territories I have to conquer, but always as allies and friends - which I believe is the reason why they were friendly to me in turn. I’ve never met those she-devils you hear about: they must be too busy with those men who look upon women as a fortress they have to attack, lay waste and left in ruins.” 5 likes
“I had affairs with a few girls of my own age, and they taught me that no girl, however intelligent and war-hearted, can possibly know or feel half as much at twenty as she will at thirty-five.” 3 likes
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