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Het boek der herinneringen

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  267 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
De zoektocht van drie vertellers, een jonge Hongaar in Oost-Duitsland omstreeks 1970, een jongen in de jaren vijftig in Boedapest en een Duitse schrijver aan het begin van de 20e eeuw, naar hun identiteit.
Paperback, 839 pages
Published 1993 by Van Gennep (first published 1986)
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Oct 20, 2011 knig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This lyrical montage of random musings, ostensibly grouped under the veneer of memories, is not for the faint of heart. One has to be imbued with self recriminations, patchworked of doubt, second guessing and depressive threads to fully appreciate this torturous journey of self exploration into the disarray of a twisted soul.

Looking out a window, or contemplating another human being can take up whole chapters: time splinters into a multi-temporal glissando, defying any culture specific zeitgeis
Alexis Hall
Yeah, this was a present from an ex-girlfriend who was way classier and more sophisticated than I am.

It even contains a charming dedication along the lines of having seen this book and thought immediately of me.

Which just goes to show how badly I inadvertently deceived this poor woman.

She lives in Paris now. I occasionally visit and sit smoking and drinking red wine outside lovely little cafes with her and her equally gorgeous girlfriend, feeling like a fucking fraud.

Which is to say, this book l
Jul 25, 2012 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's talk about excess.

I suppose that most of us who read whatever the world has come to label "literary fiction" have some stomach for excess, that we aren't satisfied with a book that trims language and scene down to the minimal unless that minimal is so razor-sharp (James Cain, for example) that you start to notice it as a trick in-and-of-itself. (An excess of minimalism?) And there's no surer sign of philistinism than when someone says they just want their books to get "straight to the poin
Mar 05, 2007 rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eastern-europeanphiles, proust-lovers
This is one of those Proustian let's-write-about-how-the-tea-stain-on-the-doily-reminds-me-of-my -dead-father kind of books. But I love it. There are a lot of central-european themes of displacement and nostalgia, issues of fatherhood/nationhood, and more things that require me to use a lot of dashes to describe them. I cried a lot when I was reading this, but I can't tell you what about--it's just one of those things.
David M
Jan 20, 2016 David M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This must be the most romantic book ever written.

I once gave it to a beau, saying he reminded me of Melchior, but I don't think he read it.

(Kind of a dick move on my part. More recently I considered giving Our Lady of the Flowers to a new flame, but wisely thought better of it)

(having just read it again, 1-19-16)

George Steiner has remarked that while culture gave way to pop consumerism in western Europe in the postwar years, classic bourgeois civilization was actually fairly well preserved in
Kat is a Glitter Pirate ☠

Reading this is clearly a very good idea.

Jul 08, 2007 Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book almost ruined literature for me- it was really that good. Other novels seemed halfhearted and pithy by comparison. It's a tough book, both from the style standpoint of three chronologically separated stories happening throughout the text, and also from the content.
Mar 22, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-weird
There are parts of this book that are 4-star. There are parts of this book that are 2-star. There is no part of this book that is middle-of-the-road 3 stars!

The book is long -- over 700 pages -- and is basically all memoir. But who's? The narrators (and there are three different ones for each of the three sections of the book) are all writers telling you stories from diffeerent times of their lives, as well as from the lives of characters they are writing about. But they are all purposefully unc
Isla McKetta
Feb 02, 2012 Isla McKetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interwoven-time
This is a book I wish I could have inhabited--spent weeks with in a dusty dacha as I parsed out its story lines and mulled over his sentences. It is written that Nadas spent eleven years writing this book and I can believe it. The prose is beautiful and even when I was lost, I was glad to be inside of it. In the end as the strands of stories wove together, I heard echoes of their earlier forms and it made me want to read the book all over again. This book is a great instructor in handling time a ...more
Brent Hayward
Apr 28, 2013 Brent Hayward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young Hungarian esthete moves to Berlin, just before the wall comes down, and spends a serious amount of time walking about the city, alone or with an aquaintance, reminiscing about childhood friends and his picaresque family. Eventually he retreats into the home of two elderly spinsters to write a novel, or some form of manuscript, in which the protagonist, an Hungarian esthete, spends a lot of time reminiscing and similarly perambulating. The chapters of both are interspersed and melded toge ...more
Mar 26, 2010 Tommy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Long, rambling, and too sentimental for my taste. This took me longer to get through than usual, and I had to keep struggling to pick it back up. After reading some other works in between I finally finished it. The characters were so narcissistic and closed off from the world around them, it could be really annoying at times. Lots of ego and Freudian ideas throughout the plot, and the attempt to sort of draw it together at the end fell way short in my mind. I love Eastern European work and was r ...more
Rose Gowen
Aug 02, 2011 Rose Gowen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote an appreciation of this book for The Rumpus:
Apr 23, 2014 Vladimir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It deserves more stars than Goodreads will let me give.
Jul 18, 2013 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, nadas
1st from nádas for me...a book of memories, paperback, 706 pages...translated from the hungarian by ivan sanders with imre goldstein...penguin books.

an "author's note" is my pleasant duty to state that what i have written is not my own memoirs. i have written a novel, the recollections of several people separated by time, somewhat in the fashion of Plutarch's, Parallel Lives Vol. 1..."

curious, in light of my recent read just finished, The Floating Opera...that includes adam's original &
Mar 01, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book basically took me all month to read, and I'm not sure that it was worth it. I may be missing some allegorical connection to European history, but there is a lot of sex.
Feb 18, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I enjoyed this one more than "Parallel Stories," though I think the latter was perhaps more sophisticated. The aspect I think I enjoyed best was the mirroring between the relationships, the reflections between the live triangles of the parents as well as those of both childhood and adulthood for the narrator. These have similar interesting juxtapositions to the reflections between the narrator and his childhood friend. Regardless, this is a meaty novel, going as deep as the reader wants ...more
Joe Salas
Feb 26, 2014 Joe Salas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laying in bed reading this book conjures up such pleasant recollections of being in Cape Cod. I spent a lot of time in the bus station at Hyannis, waiting for the next bus to Provincetown, my nose buried in "A Book of Memories". I had nothing else to do at the time.

My last morning in Hyannis, the tall blond fellow I shared rooms with at the hostel came into the bus station as well. It was strange, as I never really talked to the guy. Even though our sharing of the same physical space seemed so i
Aug 03, 2015 hjonkers rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A wonderful novel about esthetes living behind the Iron Curtain. I cannot speak for the English edition, but Henry Kammer’s Dutch translation is a pure pleasure to read, allowing the reader to savour the prose in one beautiful flow. The main character, as well as his German spinoff, come across as slighltly self-obsessed navel-gazing types, but the way Nádas describes their thoughts, doubts and passions left me no other choice than to empathize strongly with their plights.

Perhaps it’s unavoidab
Fängt wunderbar an. Mäandert dann… in Sprache und Kontext… Natürlich: Erinnerung… Hat mir jetzt beinahe das Bücherlesen verleidet. Deshalb aufgegeben.
Ist nicht der richtige Moment für dieses Buch.
Fare thy well.
Vielleicht lesen wir uns mal wieder.
Jetzt muss ich dringend mal wieder anfangen zu lesen.
David Bird
Aug 24, 2012 David Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book appeared in Publisher's Weekly with a brief review saying that it was a logical choice if you had already worked your way through Proust, Musil, and Mann's Magic Mountain. I had, so I picked it up; after that comparison, it had much to live up to. It does.

Nadas is a Hungarian who deserves to be better known in this country. In this volume, he juxtaposes two narrative lines, and it takes a while to sort that out. The best way that I can describe is writing is dreamlike: not in the sense
May 13, 2010 Katri marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book, but I don't think I'm making through it now, so I'm returning it to my to-read shelf. It was interesting and had a special atmosphere that I really enjoyed, but the language is rather heavy and difficult, and the book so massive, that I just don't feel able to do it now. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with massive books, but when the language is so hard I feel it's a job to read more than a page or two and then there are something like a thousand of such ...more
Alan Newman
Aug 27, 2014 Alan Newman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The structure of this long novel was sometimes daunting and long passages though beautifully written can be a slog to get through, in the end this is a novel that is worthy of what has been said about it. Memory, betrayal, closeted homosexuality, life behind the then extant Iron Curtain are explored in somewhat Proustian fashion but with postmodern touches like multiple and unreliable narrators and nonlinear story telling.
Jul 17, 2014 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So as not to give away any potential spoilers, I'll simply say the following: Nadas' excavation of the interior realms of Eastern Bloc socialism is perhaps the best I've read. The way in which the author ranks political moments (de-Stalinization, 1956) alongside the personal (the chance meeting of Melchior, various experiences in Budapest, Moscow, and East Berlin) as Events captures a facet of the lived experience overshadowed in great heaps of the various national literatures. Not an easy read. ...more
I felt that I was holding something very special, at lease for first few hundred pages. But I tend to agree with other reviewers that wrote of the overdrawn descriptions and complexity (for it's own sake). I find "Gravity's Rainbow" similar in it's dense styling. Some famous author (am I thinking of Umberto Eco here?) said (and I paraphrase: if it took me two years to write the damn thing, I would expect the readers to do the same). For me, can't go there, can't do that.
May 10, 2014 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was quite a maddening book. What little action there is inches forward buried in paragraphs of description and/or exposition, but this is business-as-usual for Nadas, and he writes beautifully enough to get away with it. When reading about Eastern Europe and WWII and/or its aftermath, I'm willing to put up with a lot. Beautiful and long-winded as it was, I wasn't quite sure where this sequence of memories was going until the last two chapters (mostly) tied things up.
Oct 05, 2015 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew a straight guy could write gay sex so well? And with such detail! But that's only 500-some pages in. And just when you think he's getting carried away with Lawrence-esque eroticism, he nails it:
" was as if we were seeing not each other's skin but the flesh, the bones, the rushing blood, the dividing cells, everything in the body that is selfish and self-serving and has nothing to do with another person."
Jan 23, 2014 endrju rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I had realized that the principle I was really interested in, if there was a principle, was to be found not in the obvious, logical unfolding of events, in describable gestures and meaningful words - although these were very very important, for they embody human events - but rather in the seemingly contingent gaps between the words and gestures, in these irregularities and imperfections."
Jan 26, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Proustian meditation on Communist Hungary and homosexual desire is its own uncompromising & often unending fever-dream. It seemed politically important and often sexy, though the 1970s-era adult characters can be drearily narcissistic. Vivid glimpses of a (happily) lost world -- amazing pig slaughter sequence. Glad I read it, glad I finished it.
This book made me love words. This book made me realize what words mean. This book made me realize how ignorant I am about the world outside my world.
Oh folks. It's a dense book, I believe 800+ pages? Think about it before you commit. But if and when you do, you'll be completely amazed.
Not to be read in between other obligations,This book demands full attention and loooong streches of undisturbed reading-time. Like deep-delving into the fabric of memories and assosiations where you never know exactly which layer you are in. Gives a slight vertigious sensation.
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Hungarian novelist, essayist, and dramatist, a major central European literary figure. Nádas made his international breakthrough with the monumental novel A Book of Memories (1986), a psychological novel following the tradition of Proust, Thomas Mann, and magic realism.

Péter Nádas was born in Budapest, as the son of a high-ranking party functionary. Nádas's grandfather, Moritz Grünfeld, changed h
More about Péter Nádas...

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“The harmony of two bodies expressed in this single touch, bridging their differences and bending their moral reserve, was as powerful and wild as
physical fulfillment, yet there was nothing false in this harmony, no
illusion created that just by touching, our bodies could express feelings
that rationality prevented us from making permanent; I might even say that
our bodies cooly preserved their good sense, scheming and keeping each
other in check, as if to say, I'll yield unreservedly to the madness of
the moment but only if and when you do the same; but this physical plea
for passion and reason, spontaneity and calculation, closeness and
distance, took our bodies past the point where, clinging to desire and
striving for the moment of gratification, they would seek a new and more complete harmony.”
“my foolishness had me believe that i was the story, and this bleak cold night merely its setting, but in fact my real story played itself out almost independently of me or, more precisely, occurred parallel to my own little adventures.” 4 likes
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