Trish's Reviews > In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of András Vajda

In Praise of Older Women by Stephen Vizinczey
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Jan 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: author-i-d-most-like-to-meet, classics, debut-author, favorite, funny, foreign-affairs, literature, one-for-the-ages, totally-unexpected
Read from January 05 to 12, 2012

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 character is a little brash, but only because, it appears, he was dearly loved in his childhood. He grew up thinking that everyone would love him as much as did his relatives and the monks of his adopted Franciscan monastery. “This book is addressed to young men and dedicated to older women…” he writes in the preface. ”Modern culture—American culture—glorifies the young; on the lost continent of old Europe it was the affair of the young man and his older mistress that had the glamour of perfection.”

Right at the outset we sense the incisive mind of the writer. Rich with anecdote, Vizinczey’s descriptions of his character’s deflowering and sexual encounters with young and older women around the world are terribly amusing, and insightful into the differences between the sexes, and cultures. Relations with women in North America are painfully funny and catches males and females in our culture “in the nude,” so to speak, so clearly does he see our oddities and poke fun at our interactions.

I wish I had known of this lovely classic when I was younger, though I wonder if I would have enjoyed it so completely and without inhibition. That may be the author’s lesson when he recommends the charms of older women to young men. If I had only known when I was younger how difficult and painful it was for young men “to get any,” I like to think I would have been more accommodating and open to experimentation. But perhaps it is only these older eyes that are so generous and gentle.
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Reading Progress

01/05/2012 page 30
16.0% "Oh joy, reading again! His recollections of his deflowering and "encounters with young women" worth the price of admission."
01/11/2012 page 108
56.0% "This is delicious for those remembered moments of awkwardness--oh, that we were only aware of what were possible..."

Comments (showing 1-7)

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message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol Nice to see your writing and reading once again. This review promises an exquisite and sensuous read.

Jackson Burnett Trish, you always write good reviews, but I think this is one of your best.

Trish Jackson wrote: "Trish, you always write good reviews, but I think this is one of your best."

Thanks, Jackson. Perhaps it is just because you like the subject matter.

Jackson Burnett It is a good book, isn't it?

Trish Yes, lovely book with graceful prose and thoughtful reminiscences. Loved the bit about North American women. He seemed to capture us.

message 2: by Warwick (new)

Warwick Gosh, what a wonderfully generous and appealing review of what seems to be an equally appealing book.

Trish Warwick wrote: "Gosh, what a wonderfully generous and appealing review of what seems to be an equally appealing book."

Vizinczey is something special. He has that one-step-removed vision that is so critical to good writing and yet it is clear that he engages all his senses and experience while reading. He has a wonderful book of criticism that has been updated & republished every decade since it first came out in book form. It gives hours of delight and a look into a unique mind: Truth and Lies in Literature, A Writer's Ten Commandments

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