Parallel Stories: A Novel

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Macmillan, Oct 25, 2011 - Fiction - 1133 pages
2 Reviews

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011


In 1989, the year the Wall came down, a university student in Berlin on his morning run finds a corpse on a park bench and alerts the authorities. This scene opens a novel of extraordinary scope and depth, a masterwork that traces the fate of myriad Europeans—Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Gypsies—across the treacherous years of the mid-twentieth century.

Three unusual men are at the heart of Parallel Stories: Hans von Wolkenstein, whose German mother is linked to secrets of fascist-Nazi collaboration during the 1940s; Ágost Lippay Lehr, whose influential father has served Hungary's different political regimes for decades; and András Rott, who has his own dark record of mysterious activities abroad. The web of extended and interconnected dramas reaches from 1989 back to the spring of 1939, when Europe trembled on the edge of war, and extends to the bestial times of 1944–45, when Budapest was besieged, the Final Solution devastated Hungary's Jews, and the war came to an end, and on to the cataclysmic Hungarian Revolution of October 1956. We follow these men from Berlin and Moscow to Switzerland and Holland, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, and of course, from village to city in Hungary. The social and political circumstances of their lives may vary greatly, their sexual and spiritual longings may seem to each of them entirely unique, yet Péter Nádas's magnificent tapestry unveils uncanny reverberating parallels that link them across time and space.This is Péter Nádas's masterpiece—eighteen years in the writing, a sensation in Hungary even before it was published, and almost four years in the translating. Parallel Stories is the first foreign translation of this daring, demanding, and momentous novel, and it confirms for an even larger audience what Hungary already knows: that it is the author's greatest work.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

"Parallel straight lines are straight lines which, being in the same plane and being produced indefinitely in both directions, do not meet one another in either direction." -Euclid, The Elements A ... Read full review

PARALLEL STORIES

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A robust epic of a Mitteleuropa lurching out of totalitarianism into whatever passes for modern society—"not a terrain without perils," as one of the principal characters grimly observes.Hungarian ... Read full review

Contents

The Creator Wanted It This Way
17
A Genteel Building
34
Isoldes Lovelorn Swan Song
66
Everyone in Their Own Darkness
82
The Real Leistikow
118
Le nuféminin en mouvement
140
Himself in the Magic Mirror
180
Through the Entrance to His Secret Life
195
Every Hungarian Was Lost
544
Saturated Sleepers
563
The Last Judgment
597
The Breath of Freedom
615
Like Fine Clockwork
675
No More Time
712
The Lovely Angel of Revenge
728
A Startling Gratification
757

The Quiet Reasons of the Mind
223
Margit Island
323
The Other Shore
340
Those Two
375
Ilonas Rice Chicken
391
A BrandNew Civilization
423
Otherwise It Couldnt Have Raged
447
American Dream
464
They Could Not Forget It
487
By the Summer of 57
525
Hans von Wolkenstein
774
Ive Been in This Building Before
805
The Noose Tightens
822
This Sunny Summer Afternoon
887
Only Inches from Each Other
904
The Spice of Happiness
917
In Full Swing
955
A Fecund Apricot Tree
1048
The Lover of Her Beauty
1111
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Péter Nádas was born in Budapest in 1942. Among his works translated into English are the novels A Book of Memories (FSG, 1997), The End of a Family Story (FSG, 1998), and Love (FSG, 2000); a collection of stories and essays, Fire and Knowledge (FSG, 2007); and two pieces of short fiction, A Lovely Tale of Photography and Péter Nádas: Own Death. He lives with his wife in Gombosszeg, Hungary.

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