The end of A family story by Peter Nadas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of a family story by Peter Nadas

Hungarian fiction

Original title – Egy családregény vége

Translator – Imre Goldstein

Source – Personel copy

Well, I pleased that this cycle of the year club Simon and Karen run is on 1977. As when I looked up books that had been published in the original language that year.One of the books I found was the debut novel by Peter Nadas, I reviewed his Magnus opus Parallel stories a few years ago. Nadas is one of the most regarded European writers. He own story reads like a novel he lost his mother at 13 and his father when he was 16 leaving Nadas and orphan. When his father committed suicide he was the head of a ministry that had been accused of various things.

When Grandpa died, grandmama filled the largest pot with water and put it on the stove. She poured two handfuls of salt into it and some black powder and then kept stirring . In the boiling brew she cooked her brown, gray , and dark-blue dresses untill they were black it was bad about the gray one, I liked that dress, especially when she wore it with the gold butterfly broch.Only her satin dress with the big flowers she didn’t cook, she left it the way it was – black flowers on a white background.

Death is a recurrent theme but like this passage I was remind of how Victorians mourned at times.

Like parallel stories, this is a novel set in the heart of Communist Hungry.This is a first thread and how they were able to break families But also it has a second and third part. The second line is a family saga. Simon the grandson of a family is in sent to an institution where everyone lives in silence. He keeps himself going with remembering over time his family story from his grandmother and grandfather at home the grandfather whom at times seem half dead. Had been one of these men that loved telling stories and tales these are what heartens the boy in a silent world. They also lead to the third thread in the book which is stories and thoughts around religion and communism. Both Catholic church and the Jews histories are told to the boy from his grandfather bring threads of their lives to Rome and the other way to Jerusalem. as a young boy becomes a man as he has also in this time lost his father and mother and being drawn into the adult world much earlier than he should have been Simon only solaces is remembering those tales and trying to draw some heart out of them.

One day up in the attic Grandpapa was telling me about our ancestors. Grandmama had brought fish from the market. She was very glad to have got one because Grandpapa loved fish. She stood in line for two hours, but she couldn’t go to the church with the fish.When she got wind of something being available she’d take me along, too. I didn’t like that because people would yell at her.” Look at her shoving and pushing!” “Don’t they know where the end of the line is ? Back there!” “Must be deaf””Where are you bulldozing your way to now ?”

Simon was used to help fetch bits from the market in those hard communist days of waiting being a sport this is later in the book showing the shifting feel of time at times in the book.

Like in parallel stories Nadas paints bleak times with a brush that makes his words float off the pages and through Simon and his world show even in the worst of times there is a glimmer of light to lead the way. It is a book that drifts through time this is also something he did in Parallel stories. Then there is Death and one must feel the fact that both Nadas himself and Simon had lost their parents the feelings of loss must be Nadas own and death is a recurrent theme in his books, lives being cut short. But also a sense of how the communist world of the 1950’s when the book is set would strangle those who did fit in and break the others who tried to be themselves.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Apr 19, 2018 @ 12:41:42

    Sounds fascinating Stu. So glad you could find a good translated book for the club! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The 1977 Club starts today! – Stuck in a Book
  3. Simon T
    Apr 20, 2018 @ 12:51:59

    Intriguing! I really like the passage you quote. And I really liked the only Hungarian novel I’ve ever read, so I should add a second sometime!

    Reply

  4. Trackback: That was the month that was April 2018 | Winstonsdad's Blog

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