Memory Chalet by Tony Judt

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Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

Final reflections on a happy life-from acclaimed historian Tony Judt.

Tony Judt's The Memory Chalet is a memoir unlike any other. Each essay brings the smallest details of personal experience into the larger frame of history. Judt's youthful love of a London bus route becomes a reflection on public civility. Food and trains and smells all come alive as Judt takes us from the postwar London of his childhood through Paris, Prague, and points east to New York, where he found his home. Judt brings his moral clarity and wit to bear on everything from fast cars to radical politics and, finally, the devastating illness that took his life. This book, composed when Judt was paralyzed and unable physically to write, found its shape in the ordered rooms of a Swiss Chalet of the mind: a warm refuge in the closing darkness of his final years.


About Tony Judt

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TONY JUDT is the author or editor of fifteen books, including The Memory Chalet and Postwar, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He was University Professor at New York University and the founder of the Remarque Institute. He died in August 2010 at the age of sixty-two.TIMOTHY SNYDER is Professor of History at Yale University and the author of five award-winning books, most recently Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.
Published November 11, 2010 by Penguin Books. 244 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Memory Chalet

The Guardian

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And Judt – who wondered whether he might be a poet before history took over – has the gift of making it live again.

Nov 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

The Washington Times

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When the Anglo-American historian Tony Judt died in August at the age of 62, he had been living for the previous two years in the ever more immobilizing stranglehold of ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig's disease. With the unflinching fortitude that characterizes his fight against this terrible affl...

Feb 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

Book Reporter

In “Austerity,” he recalls the “characteristic shortages and grayness of postwar Britain” but recognizes that “austerity was not just an economic condition: it aspired to a public ethic,” contrasting that with contemporary life in which we have “substituted endless commerce for public purpose, an...

Oct 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

Los Angeles Times

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A writer who grew up in postwar Britain reflects on his life after being diagnosed with a fatal disease.

Dec 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

The Telegraph

And that is what Judt .

Dec 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

The Bookbag

Unable to jot down ideas as they came to him, Judt had to rely on his memory to hold them until he had the chance to dictate his words to somebody else.

Dec 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet


“To fall prey to a motor neurone disease is surely to have offended the gods,” joshes Judt.

Oct 29 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

The Daily Beast

Writing of the quality of life in postwar Britain, Judt comments, “Just because you grow up on bad food, it does not follow that you lack nostalgia for it.” Judt’s mother—born in “the least Jewish part of the old London East End”—cooked in the English style—“hopelessly, helplessly bland.” Happily...

Nov 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

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Dec 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

Bookmarks Magazine

Judt writes with the same incisive intellectual clarity and polished writing of his other books, here evoking specific experiences formative to his childhood and intellectual growth.

Nov 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

The Jewish Chronicle

It was rendered possible, he says, by a spatial mnemonic trigger - in his case a holiday chalet from his childhood - which became a storage device enabling him to retain nocturnal memories until the next day, when they could be recorded.

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Memory Chalet

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