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Parallel Stories


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About the Author

P ter N das 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 P ter N das: Own Death. He lives with his wife in Gombosszeg, Hungary.


"A hugely ambitious, breathtakingly inventive and at times maddeningly dense novel intent on obliterating historical, geographical, literary and structural borders. "Parallel" doesn't really begin to describe how these stories interact with one another. They converge and diverge; they overlap; they crisscross, loop around and double back on one another, resulting in a defiantly nonlinear novel that attempts the daunting feat of recreating the fragmented, and perhaps even shell-shocked experience of living in Hungary during the 20th century." --Adam Langer, The New York Times"A robust epic of a Mitteleuropa lurching out of totalitarianism into whatever passes for modern society . . . Hungarian novelist N das' stories are parallel in just the sense that Plutarch's lives are: They draw the reader to a moralizing conclusion . . . N das' book is as sexually fraught as anything by Kundera . . . War is a constant as friends drift apart and come back together over the decades; sometimes the characters have names and addresses, other times they are nearly anonymous figures swept up in events, such as one Gypsy prisoner of war called "the man with the glasses." Each character's life overlaps with another's, not always neatly. N das is forgiving of their many frailties . . . but in the end, under the rumble of artillery fire and the crush of history, all that is left of their lives--and ours--is "the ethereal shadows of poplars." A pensive, beautifully written tour de force of modern European literature, worthy of shelving alongside D blin, Pasternak and Mann." --Kirkus Reviews

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