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The Snows of Yesteryear
 
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Gregor von Rezzori
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The Snows of Yesteryear

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  204 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The Snows Of Yesteryear is an uncompromising account of Gregor von Rezzori's aristocratic childhood in Romania in the days before World War II.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 15th 1990 by Chatto and Windus (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 920)
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Declan
Nov 28, 2014 Declan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Declan by: Ema
Beginning a book is like entering someone's house for the first time. You might feel a little uncomfortable and unsure about your host; your initial apprehension may develop into a sense of ease and reassurance or, barely across the threshold, you might feel that you are about to have a experience you will savour, with someone whose every word and action is beguiling.

I was half way through the prelude to the first chapter of'The Snows of Yesteryear' when I felt completely beguiled. That feeling
...more
Chuck LoPresti
I try to never say "Proustian" in a review because it really means "hey, I've read Proust" which is a laudable achievement worthy of public proclamation but a generally vague and misleading element in a literary review. Rezzori's Snows... is a look back, look for and look out for what are memories are and what we let them do to us - that's Proust-like. His language/prose is remarkably erudite and complex but never desultory - that's Proust-like too. Rezzori draws with words, makes music with wor ...more
Geoff
Essentially this book is a series of portraits of Rezzori's family and two most intimate nurses/governesses, and their lives during the two World Wars and the time in between, when their home city of Czernowitz was caught in the post-collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when it was handed over (and over again) between Romanian, German, and Russian rule. The people of the Bukovina were basically in the hands of whatever army happened to be roaming through the land at the time, and eventually ...more
James
Among the many memoirs I have read this is one of the most beautiful and meaningful. Gregor Von Rezzori has uncanny ability to create beautiful metaphors that convey a sense of both place and history. It is this that sets his memoir apart from the others. The memoir is subtitled "portraits for an autobiography". Thus Von Rezzori structures the memoir around the members of his family with chapters titled simply "The Mother", "The Father", and "The Sister". These are his portraits and it is only w ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
There are plenty of good books which you gulp down and then forget. And there are those rare excellent books which are made and meant to stay so that you choose to take your time to read them. 'The Snows of Yesteryear' belongs to the latter.

I'm not an avid reader of self biographies, but I'm always glad to read one of them when the name of the writer justifies it which is to say when the author did something in literature. (ok, I reckon how 'Open' by Andre Agassi doesn't quite belong here).

Now,
...more
Tony
THE SNOWS OF YESTERYEAR. (1989). Gregor Von Rezzori. ****.
A friend of mine recommended this book. It’s by an author I never heard of, but will follow up and seek out more of his titles. When you look at his name, you can’t tell where he is from – other than somewhere in Europe. ‘Gregor’ might be Russian; ‘Von’ usually comes from Germany; ‘Rezzori’ smacks of Italy. When you read this book, you will discover that those regions all played a part in the author’s life. The book itself is a masterful
...more
Christopher
My friend Louisa recommended The Snows of Yesteryear over a bowl of steaming pork belly ramen in the East Village. Von Rezzori's memoir is Japanese comfort food for the winter-bound soul. He writes about a town in the Bukovina area of what was once the Austrian Empire, briefly under Romanian control, then Russian occupation, and now part of the Ukraine.

Rezzori was an expat in his own home. a man without the possibility of national identity.

In part the book is a social comedy. Portraying the fu
...more
Mimi
The title drew me in, then I highly enjoyed this book, a memoir about Rezzori growing up in Berkovina, with a polyglot of minorities and how the area changed from 1914 until after WWII. He spends a long section each on the people who he felt raised him: his early nanny, his mother & father (who were mismatched and wildly neurotic) , a sister and a governess/tutor. He is the author of "Memoirs of an Anti-semite" which I haven't read, but will now.
Dan
gregor von rezzori is creeping his way to the top of my most-exciting-authors list. he has an astounding ability to arrange his thoughts with insight and poetry, and he manages to do so while remaining a few paces away from the threshold of self-indulgence and "purple prose."

the snows of yesteryear (that's blumen im schnee in german, or "flowers in the snow") is more directly autobiographical than his also amazing memoirs of an anti-semite, but the two make a perfect pair in the long run. with e
...more
M. Sarki
Four stars is more accurate as the book was very well written. But I have so many other favorites it wouldn't be fair to give it more than three that basically says "I liked it". My problem with the book was my own unfamiliarity with the writer and his works and the fact that world history is not something I am too concerned with even in light of its importance. I do enjoy personal history which there was plenty of in this book, but the wars and politics of the time probably bother me more than ...more
Andrew
My continuing obsession with pre-WWII Mitteleuropa culture has landed me at the doorstep of Herr Gregor von Rezzori (obviously). The Snows of Yesteryear is by no means a masterpiece, but it is an incredibly charming, witty, enlightening memoir describing the sort of lost world characterized by children with flaxen curls and sailor suits, fascist uncles and communist daughters, beery Germans and oniony Romanians and gloomy Hasidim, daring youthful romances, saber-scarred cheeks, courtly love, all ...more
Christopher
Gregor von Rezzori was born in 1913, and his childhood saw his hometown of Czenowitz pass from Austro-Hungary to Romania in the wake of World War I. This region, Bucovina, which is now split between Romania and Ukraine, was host to a remarkable diversity: Germans, Ruthenians (Rusyns), Romanians, (Yiddish-speaking) Jews, Poles, Russians and Armenians lived side by side in Czernowitz. In his memoir THE SNOWS OF YESTERYEAR (originally published in German as Blumen im Schnee), Rezzori depicts the ch ...more
Bookaholic
La Editura Humanitas a apărut la începutul acestui an un volum de memorii al lui Gregor von Rezzori, intitulat Zăpezile de altădată. Titlu intertextual trimite la faimoasa întrebare pe care François Villon și-o tot pune în poemul Ballade des dames du temps jadis, poem al nostalgiei trecutului și al îndepărtării de un prezent mizer și nedemn.

Titlul, prin tot ceea ce sugerează el, nu este dezmințit de cele 300 de pagini de amintiri despre cele cinci persoane care i-au marcat viața autorului: doica
...more
Heather Roberts
rezorri tenderly, beautifully, and with the most amazing descriptive prose tells his life experiences through the stories of the five most important people in his life. his insights are full of feeling, history, and subtle humor. his perception regarding intimate details of character and thought is incredibly keen.
Tobias
A fantastic memoir of a lost world, namely the multiethnic world that existed between Prussia, Austria, and Russia and which came to an end between the wars. Also a touching, and sad family memoir, with unsparing portraits of his parents, his sister, and himself. Dragged a bit at times, otherwise would have been a full five stars.
Brad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gina Connolly
Quite simply one of the best books I have ever read. The writing is sublime, erudite and hugely readable. The memoir is set on the borders of the old Austro Hungarian empire as it crumbles after the first world war, leaving Rezzori and his family stranded in the new Roumania. This former Austrian aristocratic family lose their position and security as the second world war looms. The young Rezzori is better able to adapt than are his parents but ultimately he leaves whilst they stay on with no wh ...more
Paulo Migliacci
The model ship story would suffice to make this a great book. But there is plenty more. The idea of a Ruritanian History book by a guy who was almost, but not quite, Ruritanian is enticing, and very well executed here. Zenda is both less and more of a joke seen from within. 'Exotic' lands that once flourished outside the bounds of modern nationality - let's say Sicily in the Friedrich II Hohenstauffen era - are often deployed to portray an Utopian past; in Bukovina's case one destroyed by modern ...more
Paul Fulcher
A beautifully written evocation of what is something of a lost world - the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire between the two world wars.

There are some excellent reviews on here - e.g. Declan's - that do the book much more justice than I can.

Why not 5 stars? Well firstly I set the bar high on that award. But secondly, as a matter of personal taste, I prefer fiction to non-fiction, albeit that this is my favourite type of autobiographical non-fiction, told by a fiction writer so that it read
...more
Madhuri
A beautiful memoir and a remarkable meditation on memory. Even though Rezzori describes a less than perfect childhood life, the reminiscing has a tinge of lost Eden tone to it. He draws portraits of a few people dear to him in his childhood, and like Knausgaard is brutal in his honesty at some points. But other than that, this is a memoir far removed from Knausgaard's autobiography and is closer to Proust's enchanted story of growing up.
Tuck
wonderful autobiography of growing up and old in eastern and western europe. born in the bukovina (austo-hungro empire)in what? 1914, which changed to Romania, which changed to ukraine. this is a reprint of nyrb 2010, originally in german from 1989. goes well with orringer's "invisible bridge" and Patrick fermor's "a time of gifts". intro by john banville.
Kurishin
Von Rezzori's character analysis of his childhood authority figures is unlike anything I've previously read. Imagery is also outstanding. The character development is such that I remember the details after a year.
Bettie☯
Mar 26, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as maybe  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Overbylass
to look into/check out availability
Laura McNeal
This is one of my favorite memoirs.
Tom
Just started, not interested in memoir
howtodowtle
howtodowtle marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Bengisu
Bengisu marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2015
Kat
Kat marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2015
Ross Scott-buccleuch
Ross Scott-buccleuch marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2015
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Gregor von Rezzori was born in 1914 in Chernivtsi in the Bukovina, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now part of Ukraine. In an extraordinarily peripatetic life von Rezzori was succesively an Austro-Hungarian, Romanian and Soviet citizen and then, following a period of being stateless, an Austrian citizen. The great theme of his work was the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual world in which he ...more
More about Gregor von Rezzori...
Memoirs of an Anti-Semite An Ermine in Czernopol Oedipus at Stalingrad Maghrebinische Geschichten The Orient Express

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“To recognize what is absurd and to accept it need not dim the eye for the tragic side of existence; quite on the contrary, in the end it may perhaps help in gaining a more tolerant view of the world.” 2 likes
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