lynne naranek's Reviews > The Book Of Fathers

The Book Of Fathers by Miklós Vámos
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Aug 06, 2010

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bookshelves: 2010
Read from May 01 to June 15, 2010

It took me a long time make it through this book. Partly because of the subject matter (see next paragraph), partly because there was so much food for thought I couldn't just plow through everything, I needed some time off after each chapter or so just to let things sink in.

History and me go together like oil and water: this is a result of lessons in school that were nothing more than exercises in memorization of dates and events. It is only through some form of historical fiction (Edward Rutherfurd's London, for example) that I can stomach and appreciate the past. Coming from South-East Asia, school provided almost no knowledge about Eastern Europe either.

So while I enjoyed The Book of Fathers, I think those who have even an inkling of Hungary's (and that region) past would appreciate this work even more.

Even if you don't read it for the peek into history, The Book of Fathers also provides a great perspective on the benefits or drawbacks to having visions of the future (and/or of the past), and how successive generations of this one family dealt with this gift/curse.

It was stunning for me to realise that we were following a Jewish family - it finally hit me on the head a few chapters in! (Made me wonder about how the book made it to Malaysian bookshelves - I assume there's a blackout on all things Jewish). Clues about the surname used (in whatever permutation, they all meant "star") were lost on those who didn't know the languages involved! Most enlightening, however, was the Author's Note at the end; he himself didn't know he was Jewish until his early teens.

Overall, it was a slow read, but worth it.
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