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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hungarian Masterpiece
Peter Esterhazy was born in Budapest in 1950 and has a degree in mathematics.This is a highly original book, though the author, as so often with tongue in cheek, lists dozens of writers he has quoted. It is in the line of novels such as 'Tristram Shandy' with its quirks of narrative and often riotous humour (I'm surprised Rabelais is not quoted among the sources) and...
Published on 14 April 2010 by Numero Uno

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible to the point of unreadable
Mr. Eszterhazy's "Celestial Harmonies" is probably the worst book I have ever attempted to read and the only book I have ever thrown away. Ripped to pieces and thrown away. Lacking a central narrative and pointlessly jumping between centuries would perhaps be forgivable if the language or imagery could capture and captive the reader. They do neither. The book drivels...
Published on 8 Sep 2011 by Mb Todd


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hungarian Masterpiece, 14 April 2010
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This review is from: Celestial Harmonies (Paperback)
Peter Esterhazy was born in Budapest in 1950 and has a degree in mathematics.This is a highly original book, though the author, as so often with tongue in cheek, lists dozens of writers he has quoted. It is in the line of novels such as 'Tristram Shandy' with its quirks of narrative and often riotous humour (I'm surprised Rabelais is not quoted among the sources) and 'Ulysses' with its stream- of- consciousness style, which results in a fluid and surprisingly compelling narrative.

The basic theme is Esterhazy's search for the true identity of his parents (his father was a direct descendent of the aristocrat who employed Haydn) set against a history of Hungary over the last two centuries (this is only sketched in and never weighs the book down). The novel is full of surprises, quirky changes of plot - not least, the fact that his parents' origins change from one paragraph to the next.

There is a further surprise when, just halfway through the book, the narrative style becomes simpler, more focused and completely chronological. The author's attitude to his parents become unequivocally warm-hearted without his losing any of his wit. If one is at all perplexed on a first acquaintance with this book, one could even start reading Part II first! Esterhazy's love of language is contagious - and a special mention should be made of the translator, who conveys all the inventiveness of the language and the puns so well that one would never guess English wasn't the original language.

Peter Esterhazy would be my favourite for the Nobel Literature Prize - several lesser authors have won it in the last decade alone.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible to the point of unreadable, 8 Sep 2011
This review is from: Celestial Harmonies (Paperback)
Mr. Eszterhazy's "Celestial Harmonies" is probably the worst book I have ever attempted to read and the only book I have ever thrown away. Ripped to pieces and thrown away. Lacking a central narrative and pointlessly jumping between centuries would perhaps be forgivable if the language or imagery could capture and captive the reader. They do neither. The book drivels moronically on from page to painful page, provoking the unfortunate reader with its stupidity. A big fan of Hungarian literature, I had high hopes for this book and after 70 pages preferred to rip it up rather than making money by selling it because I didn't want to inflict it on another reader. Consider yourself warned.
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Celestial Harmonies
Celestial Harmonies by Péter Esterházy (Paperback - 17 Jan 2005)
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