The novel is positive but on balance not overwhelmingly so You may isagree REVIEW published in The National November 4th 2011Henry James famously referred to the spate of unwieldy enormous world engulfing 19th century novels that once flooded the literary world and Tolstoy s War and Peace specifically as loose baggy monsters Such monsters are now pretty much a genre Perhaps it s simply that word monster but what critic can resist giving the giant novel that kind of label And let s face it books featuring hundreds of characters suirrelly plot lines or no Dreamwalker (The Ballad of Sir Benfro, discernible plot lines at all can be threatening If the 19th I m setting this one aside for now Gave it 150 pages but I see no reason to continue on for another thousand It s an utterly bleak humorless 19th century style Realist novel told in fairly conventional prose yes the book s chronology is fragmented and scattered but really that s not particularly inventive orifficult you write 6 small novels and shuffle the chapters like a Akenfield deck of cards not that Nadas can t write there are some startlingescriptions here nicely made images but when the book is not focused on the Gym and Slimline disgusting aspects of the human body its filth its excretions its pa Vital StatisticsNumber of pages 1133Length of audio version 1ay 18 hours 48 minutesWeight of hardcover edition 33 poundsNumber of significant characters 34Longest chapter title Through the Entrance to His Secret LifeNumber of instances of the word foreskin 34Number of instances of the word Nazi 25Words most commonly appearing in context with frenum taut sensitive tornLevel of necessity to construct an ongoing ramatis personae utmostLink to a great article about this book World Literature TodayMany readers may find this book rather bloated as it is than a thousand pages long but lacks a plotline even remotely related to that of the latest bestselling thriller Plot is not a reason to read this book What N as Marginal Notes, Doubtful Statements does best is toraw out moments to an extreme The Clock Without a Face degree A few seconds inside the mind of a character may take up the space of five large andense pages Inversely the few spare action seuences pass in a flurry of words and the reader may miss them if she blinksAnd while there is not a plotline that Captives of the Private House demands the reader s attention this is a very intense book andemands unflagging attention for other reasons Foremost among these reasons is its structure which resembles most closely that of David Foster Wallace s Infinite Jest Like Infinite Jest Parallel Stories is a fractured neurotic and erudite behemoth and for these ualities each will attract readers of the other As Wallace s reader must continually replace herself in shifting time and space so it also goes within this volume The story vacillates between Budapest to Berlin and jumps in temporal space from the interwar period to the late twentieth century And it Teaspoon and an Open Mind does this without warning sometimes within the same paragraph At the beginning of each chapter the reader mustiligently investigate where and when she has been placed a uestion which cannot always be answered straightawayThese are not its only challenging or peculiar characteristics Like Cormac McCarthy N A Celtic Miscellany das neglects certain punctuation particularly uotation marks Thus each sentence becomes a game of who is speaking now the narrator or a character which can be frustrating orelightful epending on the reader this reader finds it elightful The title Parallel Stories is something of a misnomer Lines or stories for that matter that are parallel are ones that run side by side in either Foxs Feud (Farthing Wood, direction infinitely that never intersect with each other The stories and subplots and characters of this booko nothing if they The Culture Code don t intersect with each other They interweave to form an exceedingly intricate tapestryepicting Eastern Europe in the twentieth century One of the major joys of this book is to see a character resurrected from the text after 700 or pages of absence in a context with one of the other characters the reader has come to know intimatelyIntimate is one of this book s buzzwords It is to N Banish Clutter Forever das s credit that he can make such a huge book feel so intimate Heoes this with his masterful use of the third person subjective narrative with focal characters constantly changing And there are a lot of characters the reader is introduced to and made friendly with as a rough count there are at least thirty four significant characters Thirty four characters that seem unmistakably real no less with all the foibles and eccentricities of real people We are made privy to the innermost thoughts of these characters as well as their most intimate physical moments something that N Stolen Magic (Stardust, das is obsessed with There is a sexual encounter that lasts for than 100 pages for instance that goes into excruciatingetail both of the physical act and the thoughts of its participantsThis neurotic focus on The Billionaire Daddy detail may wear on the reader but the persistent is sure to find Parallel Stories an incredibly rewarding book It is surely a candidate for the future canon one that if it can find its appropriate readers will not be forgotten anytime soon 4520 Just completed my fourth full reading in less than aecade I suppose I m than a little obsessed with this book and in fact think it s the greatest work of literature ever composed Next time I will read in the original MagyarI m firmly convinced Mr Nadas is the greatest living novelist in the western world This book is like really intense I first read it when it came out in 11 and then stopped reading novels for the next year or so Everything else seemed sort of inadeuate Petty insignificant Peace time Relative prosperity and comfort A cultured woman has to run to the toilet with a bad case of Pistols for Two diarrhea all the while trying to keep up bourgeois appearances theiscomfort in her body brings her back to that time she was riding in a cattle car to Treblinka and everyone lost control of their bowels Scenes like this happen over and over for than 1000 pages There are Stronger dozens andozens of characters and every single one of them has to fart scratch his ball leak menstrual fluid or some such variation Then as often as not something really terrible happens Trauma is held in the body that s where history takes place This might not sound all that appealing to a lot of readers And indeed back in 11 a lot of the reviews were not favorable I particularly remember one in the UK Guardian where the critic just seemed PISSED at having to endure this To some Loss (Gus Dury, degree I guess I can sympathize I mean if you were assigned to read it for your job if you been compelled I can see that it might not be much fun I The Last Rite (Danilov Quintet, d recommend first trying A Book of Memories Nadas s earlier novel It s about 30% shorter and far tender romantic even The narrator is constantly trying to escape history looking for refuge in the warmth of others bodies and occasionally finding it In Parallel Stories thisoesn t ever seem to be a real possibility History is inescapable and we re all of us trapped in our own bodies A totally uncompromising vision of evil not like anything else in literature Surely Nadas towers far above all contemporaries
A TEENAGE BOY CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE SOON teenage boy contemplating suicide soon having had his first sexual experience with men a lot of men it so
was taking with the taste and smell of strange men s lips gums teeth saliva and cocks her cherished this as he Alacrity (Illumine, did his own imminenteath for which he had to take only a few possibly painful steps He will take everything with him pp 626 Even than Jean Genet perhaps N as is the ultimate writer of trans historic faggotry No one will ever write better or accurate scenes of gay cruising than the ones found in this book This makes it all the remarkable that he s able to create such compelling fully embodied woman characterspossibly I m exaggerating the bleakness a little a whole long section almost resembles a nouvelle vague film oh Krist f my north star am I getting too old to still romanticize walking away. Decades; and András Rott who has his own ark record of mysterious activities abroad The web of extended and interconnected Love You To Death (Detective Ruby Preston, 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 Solutionevastated 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. 61816 actually already 619 here in les Cer Third reading I remain in awe perplexed shaken N Arnhem das is my favorite writer I think Parallel Stories and Book of Memories are eually great but BoM isefinitely easier to love I Fitness for Living d say I have of a tumultuous relationship with PS Stuck in my craw I couldn t give it up if I wanted to As theoctor in Nightwood says of Nora and Robin though they may sleep in separate graves one Love Is Blind dog will unbury them bothSilence is what awakens him In a book of around half a million words the author finally has to bow before the unspeakable A novel this violent and sexually explicit yet in the end it simply can t be represented orescribed The point at which parallel line meet is infinity Simone Weil Gravity and GraceN as appears to be no Euclidean These stories o not follow the civilized rules of classical geometry And the modern Enlightenment fares little better in these pages The meaning of so many things in this world is simply incomprehensible and very little can be comprehended with the help of knowledge pp 284Encyclopedic in scope not for nothing has it been compared to War Peace The reader might also be reminded of Underworld or 2666 At the same time for all the The World in the Curl different scenes and characters the books possesses an intensely focused relentless uality Nas is happy to make use of all his research and erudition but that s not the point Over and over he pursues Connexity darkness obscurity unknowing The flammable human colloid gathered in theitches fat and marrow arranged in fine layers according to their relative A Personal Influence density the religion teach or the retired banker watched as fires burst to life with fat and flames flaring up from theepthsThis particular scene is not indicative of the spiralling core of Parallel Stories The novel s soul is of a softer vice one suggestive Americas First City dispiriting and often spermyThe action occurs largely in Budapest and Berlin though otherestinations in Hungary and Germany are featured There are three timelines 1 both before and Bone Mountain (Inspector Shan, during the Second World War 2 1956 and 3 1989 The prose floats from scene to scene often returning to an earlier situation but from aifferent perspective gradually something else occurs Associations are made Narratives are linked Accounts unravel and are ispelled Sins are not confessed Doubts linger A Cubist gestalt oesn t uite triumph but a sense making to paraphrase Herr H stains as it signifiesI read most of this while in Berlin most of which over a single weekend as I was recovering from a classic case of cobble hobbled knee I was asked about the book by my mother in law She asked with a smile I had just read an account of a shadowy orgy in a filthy public restroom I sensed she KNEW I blushed and felt Charity Girl dirty There are a host ofisorders swimming through the protagonists Despite the grotesue trappings none of those afflcited appeared contrived nor entirely foreign P ter N Alipio das has a penned an ugly work one which may be one of the most important novels of the last 20 years My first experiment with absurdly long novels ends in abject failure I crawl away into a corner mumbling androoling Okay you have to say that the central of Europe in the 20th Century was no cakewalk in the park on a lovely spring Seducing Ingrid Bergman day with friendly poodles and ickle girls in pinaforeresses turning handsprings and bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover tweeting oh what a beautiful morning Corrupt aristocracies were replaced by fascism which was replaced by Stalinism So we get miseryfests like The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell 984 pages Krzysztof Kieslowski s ten hour Dekalog and this 1100 page beast of which I could not even manage 120 pages Other GR reviewers sound ominous notes in their excellent and recommended reviews Christopher Plot is not a reason to read this book What N as oes best is to A Secret Place draw out moments to an extremeegree A few seconds inside the mind of a character may take up the space of five large and Scandalous (Playing with Fire dense pages Inversely the few spare action seuences pass in a flurry of words and the reader may miss them if she blinksJosh I m 500 pages into it and so far with the slew of characters that may or may not be related and time shiftsream seuences and flashbacks I am utterly lostUh ohThere were reasons why I was groaning along with many of the characters who also groan for their own private reasons1 I got an apartment block with a concierge and I began to get introduced at glacially slow pace to each character And not interestingly It was exposition exposition exposition Tell Brute Force (Nick Stone, don t show Man alive this big house with many roomsevice is so overused eg London Belongs to Me Life A User s Guide and hell yes Gormenghast You can think of many examples yourself 2 I got a headache from the awkward cackhanded translation and its hackneyed phrases The attack laid her low page 56He was shooting the breeze with his friends p59She had an aversion to unpleasant scenes p61And the stilted use of the impersonal pronoun one as in one had to be careful otherwise one could bump one s head on the low ceiling The last time English writers used one like that was Agatha Christie in 1852 but this is a translation so I unno 3 One also gets awful sentences like Neither her body nor her soul had any appropriate sense organs with which to comprehend what she was failing to comprehend with her mindUgh That s horrible It just lies on the page and writhes Somebody put it out of its misery with aHappensHe Was Taking With
Spade 4 There Are No4 There are no marks for ialogue Even bloody James Joyce used a To Risks Unknown dash but for Peter Nadas that would be frivolous This makes a stodgy book even of an effort I understand that later it shifts from third to first person narration on a whim inside a paragraph but Iid not get far enough to find that out All this shite makes this book very literaryOther reviewers liked this monster a lot so When You Look Up don t take my word for it but I believe some of them were suffering from literary Stockholm Syndrome which is where very long books are wildly overpraised because the reader has become convinced that the terrorists have a valid case Lawks a mercy ABSURDLY LONG NOVELS MY 2016 PROJECTYou can t help but notice that some novels are stupefyingly long so long that they put you right off This one is 1133 pages Really I mean who are they kidding If you come to that part of your life when you have the time for such a novel you will probably no longer have enough bodily strength to pick it up A robot or a nurse will have to help This kind of annoyed me Because I thought wait Someone uite a few someones thought that this novel had to be this long it couldn t be any shorter The author yes but he also managed to convince his agent and editor and publisher at the very least All fairly serious people not the type who say heh let s just publish a 1133 page novel which no one will read for the sheer fun of it What a laughSo this made me think that I am missing what might be some great books just because they are insanely long I therefore conceived a cunning plan I would choose ten of these behemoths and I would read one hundred pages and if I wasn t hooked I would say faugh upon you you bloated wedge of wood pulp begone to Oxfam and to the author I would say May the lamb of God stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick you in the arse The Vampire Next Door (Strange Neighbors, down to hell May you have the runs on your wedding night and may you be imprisoned in a library containing only Dan Brown novels and railway timetables from 1931 So then I checked on a well known online book retailer s site and found to my great surprise that many of these vast novels were being sold at amazing bargain prices like a uid or two uid On reflection thisid not bode well but shoving aside any trepidations I have been buying these tomes like a one armed sailor on a three ay pass The postman has probably muttered the Lamb of God curse at me several times come to think of it Anyway Parallel Stories is Experimental LONG NOVEL NUMBER ONE WE SHALL Novel Number One We shall what we shall see. Circumstances of their lives may vary greatly their sexual and spiritual longings may seem to each of them entirely uniue yet Péter Nádas’s magnificent tapestry unveils uncanny reverberating parallels that link them across time and spaceThis 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 aring Scandal! demanding and momentous novel and it confirms for an even larger audience what Hungary already knows that it is the author’s greatest work. For aetailed review of Parallel Stories I ll insist that you read Tod s review here on Goodreads and Scott Esposito s wonderful review and one with which I agree wholeheartedly in the Barnes Noble ReviewN The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel das has certainly written a monumental exploration of time history belonging estrangement and how the personal and the political affect individuals and their relationships with others Roughly speaking Parallel Stories centralizes the Lippy Lehr and the Dohring families exploring main members of each family their lovers andistant relations their friends and even the friends of their friends While such a project especially one of this length could easily have been labeled a group of short stories with a loose theme tying them all together N Pilgrimage (1920) dasoes indeed succeed at making Parallel Stories a novel However if his claim as he has stated was to create a monument to incompleteness the length of this novel is a problem there is nothing that warrants such a lengthy examination which results at some points in iterative narrative arcs and redundant because they are repeated so often flashbacks in history and this novel would have greatly benefited from a concise and less broad structureThere are some Proustian moments here an author with whom N Shapely Ankle Preferrd das is often compared but whereas Proust s project actually solicits the volumes it takes for his narrator to reach the end of the Recherche nothing in Parallel Storiesoes The philosophical investigations here on time history individuality isolation Sword at Sunset desire and self annihilationo have their moments of brave insight and often prophetic assessments of our relation to our histories and to history itself but N Fair Play (Zephyr Ranch das often loses track uickly and focuses almost solely on the bodyefecation fluids and sex I agree with Scott Espositio s review to which I ve linked above in that these Proustian moments are mixed with a kind of nineteenth century realism which seems at odds with N as s project entirely and so this works to make Parallel Stories a less effective work mixing experimental nonlinear writing with cliched and hackneyed plot lines than had N as stayed within the medium of memory and shifting temporalities I like big books The breadth of the story the intricate plots and characters and even the sheer physical size of the book are all Cronache della famiglia Wapshot daunting But it s the challenge I love Truth be told I majored in English because I wanted to be able to really read Gravity s Rainbow I still can t House of Leaves Underworld Wings of the Dove Infinite Jest and my all time favorite The Recognitions were not easy reads and many times I What you get with Nas is a candid unrestrained portrayal of the seedier aspects of life His The Temple of the Golden Pavilion depictions are not glamorous He is obsessed with bodily functions and with the mechanics of sex The fluids the friction and all the nasty odours and secretions areescribed in sensory The Secret Life of Birds detail He has a particular penchant forescribing the attributes of the foreskin its present position as being either relaxed or painfully retracted behind the bulb its state of cleanliness its odour the colour and composition of the substances that inhabit it or emanate from its vicinity his characters preoccupation with the above and its effect on their cognitive and emotional state If you have ever wondered about such things this is the book for youThough the writing can be uncomfortably The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering descriptive the unabashed honesty with which he writes is refreshing Indeed these are aspects of life which are rarely written about but whicho freuently occupy our thoughts and are in fact an important part of our experience For the extent that they figure in our minds in our memories and imaginations they are seldom committed to print For this uniue examination of these hidden elements of life N New Penguin Cookery Book das must be commendedBut unfortunately Nas has a tendency to overindulge these proclivities The Wrong Pong descriptions of sex are oftenrawn out tedious and unnecessary though to be fair much of this is limited to the earlier parts of the novel Indeed a similar criticism can be applied to the totality of N Dealmakers Guide To Commercial Real Estate das s writing even when notepicting sex it is excessive and indulgent Much of the time he appears to be writing without purpose with no real narrative The Contest of the Century direction His scenes are overescribed and go nowhere He creates elaborate histories for his characters that have little bearing on their actions or relationships A novel The Battle of the Atlantic does not need to have a plot but itoes need be written with a purpose that is not purely to indulge the authorN The Real Dads Army das s prose is a mixed bag It is sometimes elegant but often it is awkward and clich however it s Model-Based Systems Engineering with OPM and SysML difficult to know how much of this should be blamed on the author and how much on the translation and uirks of the original language His scenes areeeply introspective He regularly wanders away from the narrative into history memory and imagination This has the effect
"Of Distending Time And Causing Scenes To Take On A "distending time and causing scenes to take on a still static uality I m not certain that this is an intentional or particularly Pour une branche de gui desirable feature but the effect is uniue and memorable nonetheless Nas s style is characterised by freuent sudden and unexplained shifts in time and perspective These are often Medieval Intrigue difficult to follow and this lends the novel a puzzle like uality Whereas I generally enjoy this kind of invitation to active participation in this case Iid not feel compelled to play along I simply id not trust that N as was
doing anything particularly creative or clever It felt like a trick like he was attempting to useanything particularly creative or clever It felt like a trick like he was attempting to use techniues to as a proxy for profundity to imply layers that were simply not there As I began reading Parallel Stories I would keep a note of characters names settings and relationships in order to help follow the convolutions and The Ghost That Haunted Itself draw connections between the various stories But eventually I abandoned this practice as it became apparent that Nas was not The Lucifer Code driving towards any sort of strong unification of the narrative Parallel Stories is characterised by a succession of minutelyetailed scenes which The Pocket Idiots Guide to Wine do capture something profound yet fleeting about the human experience but which often lack any wider purpose in the context of the novel Eventually I began reading the chapters simply as vignettes and allowed the connections to fall where they may I will concede that there is every chance that my own cynicism and impatience was at play here and it s possible that I have not given Nas sufficient credit for his narrative style and structure Parallel Stories is ifficult to read without a etailed knowledge of Hungarian culture history and politics So much of the novel is about capturing the Hungarian condition and experience N as has clearly written for a Hungarian audience and though some context has been added in the translation footnotes there remains a lot of history and lived experience that is assumed of the reader which most non Hungarians would not possess I suspect that the novel is filled with countless points of resonance that would be implicitly understood and felt by Hungarian readers but lacking this context I personally had ifficulty connecting with many of Its Foundational Themes This Was Perhaps The Biggest Difficulty For foundational themes This was perhaps the biggest Jesus, the Word to Be Spoken difficulty for to overcomeWhen reviewing a novel of this size and complexity one simply cannot encapsulate it entirely and therefore I must stress that my comments in this review are generalities which cannot be applied uniformly to the whole work I say this only because I feel that I am being unfair in some of my criticisms in that they absolutelyo not apply in all cases Indeed there are several sections of the novel that I felt were outstanding P ter N Dead Souls (Inspector Rebus, das has much to recommend him as a writer and perhaps Parallel Stories is a better novel than I am giving it credit for However I can only provide my own opinions and impressions constrained as they are by my own context and preferences and the time I ve allowed myself to write this review My overall impression of. In 1989 the year the Wall cameown 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 Hija de la fortuna depth a masterwork that traces the fate of myriad Europeans Hungarians Jews Germans Gypsies across the treacherous years of the mid twentieth centuryThree unusual men are at the heart of Parallel Stories Hans von Wolkenstein whose German mother is linked to secrets of fascist Nazi collaborationuring the 1940s; Ágost Lippay Lehr whose influential father has served Hungary’s ifferent political regimes for.