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Parallel Stories: A Novel

ISBN: 9780374229764 | 0374229767
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: 10/25/2011

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A once-in-a-generation literary event: the monumental masterwork being hailed as a "twenty-first-century War and Peace" ( Magyar Nemzet) In 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down, a university student on his morning run finds a corpse on a park bench and alerts the authorities. This classic police-procedural scene opens an extraordinary novel that traces the fate of myriad EuropeansHungarians, Jews, Germans, Gypsiesacross the treacherous years of the mid-twentieth century. The social and political circumstances of their lives may vary, their sexual and spiritual longings may seem unique to each of them, yet Peter Nadas's magnificent tapestry weaves uncanny, reverberating parallels that link them across time and space. Three men are at the heart of Parallel Stories: Hans von Wolkenstein, whose German mother is linked to dark secrets of Fascist-Nazi collaboration during the 1940s; Agost Lippay Lehr, whose influential father has served Hungary's political regimes for decades; and Andras Rott, who has his own record of dark activities abroad. They are friends in Budapest when we meet them in the spring of 1961, a pivotal time in the postwar epoch. Their richly detailed, dramatic experiences now center on Budapest, but the action of the novel carries us across Europe from the Alps to river ports on the Danube, from Greece to the North Sea. The daring episodes of Parallel Storiesexplore the most intimate, difficult human experiences in prose glowing with uncommon clarity and mysterious uncertainty. This web of extended dramas reaches not just forward to the transformative year of 1989 but back to the spring of 1939, with Europe trembling on the edge of war; to the bestial times of 194445, when Budapest was besieged, the Final Solution devastated Hungary's Jews, and the war came to an end; and to the cataclysmic Hungarian Revolution of October 1956. Parallel Storiesis a daring, demanding, and moving exploration of humanity at its most constrained and its most free.


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