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Parallel Stories: A Novel | [Péter Nádas, Imre Goldstein (Translator)]

Parallel Stories: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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’ magnificent tapestry unveils uncanny reverberating parallels that link them across time and space.

This is Péter Nádas’s masterpiece - 18 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.

©2011 Péter Nádas (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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    "I wish I could return this"

    The narrator was totally fine.

    The book itself is not a good candidate for an audio experience. Paper readers probably skip 60 or 70% of it, if not more. This is the type of modern fiction that wants to spend pages (hours) on poop and boners. It's annoying enough when scanning and skipping ahead are possible, but intolerable when I am trapped listening to the reader. The conceit is that in the foreground of even dramatic historical events is always the experiencer's body, and bodily functions. Ok, I get it. that's mildly clever. After the first couple hours of this style this book would be better off bowdlerized.

    Moreover, the non-poop and boners writing isn't that good. This book contained the phrase "fiery red pubic hair." No. Fail. That is not good writing. That is corney. Compare with this from Villette by Charlotte Bronte: "... my heart softened towards her when she turned darkly from the glass. A calamity had come upon her. That hag Disappointment was greeting her with a grisly 'All hail' and her soul rejected the intimacy." Whhhhaaattt??? How clever is that. And you can get that for free over at librivox.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
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