Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
Why I Want To Read It
At the height of last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature hunt (and speculations), several names surfaced as possible and probably winners. Various literary pundits started listing those who deem as favorites to cop the prestigious award. The race was even more raucous than usual because of the controversies that surrounded the 2018 awarding, or rather non-awarding.
One of the writers that was being tipped off to win was Péter Nádas, a Hungarian writer. Just like many of the names in these lists (including fellow Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai), save a few, he was a name I’ve never heard of or read of before. This, naturally, piqued my interest. Moreover, earlier in 2019, I had my first immersion into Hungarian literature through Magda Szabó’s The Door. I am impressed by the repertoire of Hungarian writers. I resolve to read more of their works.
Luckily, as I was browsing through a bargain bookseller, I saw a copy of Péter Nádas’ Parallel Stories. It was thick but I was immensely surprised that a reseller would have a rare book, at least in my area of the world. Despite it being lengthy and thick, it as being sold for a bargain price of less than 4 USD. Without much ado, I bought it and even included it in my 2020 Top 20 Reading List. I relish reading lengthy books and the challenges they present. I am doubly excited.
How about you fellow reader? What books on your TBR lists are you excited to read this year? I hope you can share it with me in the comment box. Happy start of the week everyone!