The Afterlife of Stars
In the waning months of 1956, while Russian tanks roll into the public squares of Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution, brothers Robert and Attila Beck flee with their family to the Paris townhouse of their great-aunt Hermina. As they travel through minefields both real and imagined, Robert and Attila grapple with sibling rivalry, family secrets, and incalculable los...more
Some books seduce us and only at the disappointing finale do we realize a lack of depth, or resolution, or satisfaction.
There are books we abandon for various reasons, in irritation or disgust or boredom perhaps, an inability to connect,even if we plough on to the end, as a tedious chore.
Then there are books that take longer to assert their character. Books that rattle us, that force us to sit up and take note. Bo ...more
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 began as a student demonstration against Soviet-imposed policies and turned into a nationwide revolt which resulted in the collapse of the government.
Next time someone tells you that being a part of any demonstration won't lead to anything, remember the Hungarian Uprising as one amongst many examples of how a few voices can quickly grow into a nationwide revolution.
The author escaped Hungary to Canada dur ...more
"The Afterlife of Stars moved me more than any novel I've read in recent memory. It hypnotizes. It ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend people read it.
This book is a beautifully told story centering on two young brothers and their family escaping a tumultuous Hungary as the Soviets invade and Their journey to a better life. The story is told with heartfelt poignancy and was extremely thought-provoking. The heavy subject matter was very well written and lightened by occasional humor.
Worth the read!
It is difficult to decide if this work was cut short on purpose; also if the awful realities of what the hero's parents survived are made incidental on purpose. The latter seems the better explanation. A child's perspective on awful, grownup horrors, the better to contrast innocence with hyper-reality.
In any event, the writing is superb. Not a word out of place or superfluous.
For some reason, I can’t seem to mo ...more
The problem seems to be that I needed time to decide what it's about.
It's not about the ill-fated 1956 Hungarian uprising, although that sets the stage.
It's not even about the family displaced by that event, including the young narrator or his very inquisitive big brother.
And I also don't think it's about the family's long-held secrets that the brother begins uncovering.
All the above, and the vari ...more
"himself" when one of the doting relatives gives the brothers a set of Huck and Tom.
This is a fine book: for me, a one sitting. It's the story of an extended Beck family fleeing foreign oppression, some from Hitler and, later, some from Stalin. Escape, adventure, mystery, discovery,
loss--a welter of questions and dubious outcomes ...more
There are many family secrets, mostly abou ...more
When I first saw this, I was excited as it was about brothers, but I ended up hating it. It seemed to be promising at first. Sadly, the rest turned out to be all so stupid.
It was so boring. Also, most of the chapters seem too long, which I'm not a fan of. When I read a book, I like chapters to be not too long and not too short. And the paragraphs were too long, which bored me to death.
Plus, the characters were not interesting to me. The older brother, Attila was very imm ...more
He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto, where he was encouraged in his writing by Irving Layton and Marshall McLuhan.
Kertes founded Humber College's distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. He is currently Humber's Dean of Creative and Performing Arts ...more