A Book of Memories

A Book of Memories

A Book of Memories
Author(s) Péter Nádas
Original title Emlékiratok könyve
Translator Ivan Sanders
Imre Goldstein
Country Hungary
Language Hungarian
Publisher Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó
Publication date 1986
Published in
Pages 534
ISBN 9631532321

A Book of Memories (Hungarian: Emlékiratok könyve) is a 1986 novel by the Hungarian writer Péter Nádas. The narrative follows a Hungarian novelist involved in a romantic triangle in East Berlin; interwoven with the main story are sections of a novel the main character is writing, about a German novelist at the turn of the century.

An English translation by Ivan Sanders and Imre Goldstein was published in 1997 through Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The novel won the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger in 1998.


Under the headline "The Soul of Proust Under Socialism", Eva Hoffman reviewed the book for The New York Times. She wrote that "in A Book of Memories, Peter Nadas ... has accomplished a remarkably interesting feat: he has transposed the novel of consciousness to the Socialist universe, and closed the gap between prewar modernism (inflected here by post-modern psychoanalysis) and Eastern Europe." Hoffman wrote that the novel has a style of details in "magnified, hot close-up", and that "Longueurs can have their plaisirs, as we know from Proust; but some passages in A Book of Memories are drawn out to the point of tedium or silliness, and the novel within the novel is marred by occasional affectation. Still, these are minor flaws in a work that offers a lot of incidental as well as major pleasures: quirky chapter titles, in the manner of Robert Musil ("A Telegram Arrives" and "Slowly the Pain Returned"); an astonishing scene in which two boys help a sow deliver her litter; a rare honesty about the conflicts of homosexual romance; and the colloquial freshness of the language."

The American literary theorist Susan Sontag called A Book of Memories "the greatest novel written in our time, and one of the great books of the century."

See also


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