Olga's Reviews > Radiant Days: A Novel

Radiant Days by Michael A. FitzGerald
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May 09, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2008

I am Hungarian and I met Michael in Budapest in 1993 when he was living there and collecting impressions. Then I knew nothing of him until I found his book on-line recently. So reading Radiant Days, especially it being related to the Hungarian experience, was such a treat!

His incredibly sharp eye for detail and great sense for absurdity and irony totally shine throughout this book. It is extremely well-written, the comical is so funny and the sad is so sad, and the observations and events somehow so relevant to our generation even if they have nothing to do with any particular life. A bit off the ground and terminally confused, we yearn for things that aren’t there and then completely miss the point of what is there. In extreme cases, each and every time. That was my feeling.

I loved the narrator, Anthony. (I may be one of few people, though, it seems.) He has a rare sense for beauty – and I don’t mean Gisela’s butt -, and his approach to the novelty of being in a foreign place, that is, with acknowledged ignorance and open eyes, is so much more appealing than the arrogant confidence that characterizes the typical and widely hated American abroad. I think self-deprecation is hot and heroes are boring and dishonest. (But remember, I’m Hungarian and we like to kill ourselves.)

I found Gisela’s and Anthony’s relationship interesting beyond the premise of beautiful, slutty girl misleading clueless guy. Although they both seem at times willing to connect, there is a total lack of efficient communication, and their interactions almost always derail, and most painfully, often in the shadow of potentially beautiful harmony. When you do find the beauty, it comes unexpected, in the middle of ugly, desperate situations. I love the contrasts!

And the last line is so cool that it, in itself, is worth reading the book for.

I loved this book and I can’t wait for the next one from Michael.
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