Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas
A Novel

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This is a tough read. It’s long. The print is small. And with no quote marks it’s difficult to figure out who is saying what...The tension between modernity and the past isn’t resolved. It’s simply acknowledged. No neat ends tied up here.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

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.

 

About Péter Nádas

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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.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1152 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Parallel Stories
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Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Deborah Dundas on Mar 03 2012

This is a tough read. It’s long. The print is small. And with no quote marks it’s difficult to figure out who is saying what...The tension between modernity and the past isn’t resolved. It’s simply acknowledged. No neat ends tied up here.

Read Full Review of Parallel Stories: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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