The End of a Family Story by Peter Nadas

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Synopsis

An unforgettable short novel--Ndas's first, from 1977.

It is the 1950s, in Hungary, when Stalinist repression has reduced the populace to silence and deception. An old man, refusing to submit to these implacable realities, flees to his memories of the past, in which he believes he can still find redemption. For his grandson, he invents a fantastic tapestry of stories, a family saga, a fabulous world of myths and legends: he imagines--and recounts--a luxuriant history of a people who, having denied the Messiah, must legitimate their faith and expiate their sins over thousands of years.

That is one family story. Another, more urgent and immediate, is engaging both the storyteller and the boy. The authorities condemn as a traitor the son of one and father of the other, and then they come searching for the boy, who is the narrator of this extraordinary fiction. But the boy has been liberated into sincerity and freedom by his grandfather's stories, and he feels himself empowered to give dark and passionate testimony to the alienation, treason, sexual energies, and complex truth-telling of the adult world that confronts him. Finally he begins to understand how other kinds of family stories will end.

Myth, history, and political realities are beautifully synthesized in this inspired, radiantly beautiful novel from the author of A Book of Memories.

 

About Peter Nadas

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Peter Nadas was born in Budapest in 1942. His work has been translated into twelve languages. The author of A Book of Memories (FSG, 1998) and The End of a Family Story (FSG, 1999), he lives in the village of Gombosszeg, Hungary.
 
Published November 1, 1998 by Farrar Straus Giroux. 224 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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