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on 26 September 2010
'My father read "In Praise of Older Women" in the late 1970''s and enjoyed it. So, when I saw it in the shops, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to see if perspectives had changed over the years. Well from page one I was immediately taken into the world of a young mans view to life and his encounters, especially with women. As I sat outside of a cafe and read the first page I became so absorbed to the point that a waiter had to ask me if I wanted to move inside, as it was starting to rain. I looked up and indeed it was raining. With that I returned to reality. A real page turner right to the end...once again Dad was right. MKW
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on 14 May 2010
If you ask me, "In Praise of Older Women" is a book that every young male should read. From this perspective (and with hope I would've understood it back then) I am really sorry I haven't read it when I was younger. Simply, book is filled with wise sentences and truth about life.

Far from what one can expect after reading title and some of the reviews - this book is not about sex. It is about thoughts and experiences of a young boy as who is walking down the road of becoming a man. In this book you won't find descriptions of explicit scenes that serve no purpose other than to arouse the reader. Every sexual act in this book is a piece of a bigger puzzle - a medium intended to communicate some idea on male-female relationships.

So, if you are looking something worthwhile to read - look no further - pick up this book and join the club of people who are wondering "How come this writer is not more well known?". I am sure that in no time you'll be searching for An Innocent Millionaire and Truth & Lies in Literature cursing publishers because other works of this author are out of print and hard to find.
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on 24 November 2011
The notion that older women make the most interesting and satisfying lovers is one of the most persistent in the general understanding of human relationships, and there are several reasons for believing in its veracity, particularly in cases where their partners are either virginal or barely experienced. This well-established novel explores the possible reasons in the form of an autobiographical account of the amorous progress of a young man from his early pubescence in his native Hungary during the transition from post-Nazi to Soviet occupation. The low priority of sexual mores during such times emerges as a clear influence on him. For me the book recalled the social situations described more ably by the similarly nationally occupied Czechoslovakians Skvorecky and Kundera, even though these authors eschewed the narrow focus of erotic education that dominates Vizinczey's novel. The supposed subject eventually leaves Hungary to pursue an academic career in Canada, opening a broader landscape of human relationships. The sociological backgrounds of the women who contributed to the education of the young narrator, necessarily twisted by their own, possibly atypical, experiences may well have influenced his analysis of their relationships with him, but their variety certainly adds richness to the descriptions of their needs and emotions. It's an interesting book, relatively clinical rather than erotic in its narrative style.
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on 20 March 2010
I really liked this book. It's basically about the young narrator's (Vajda) many and various sexual encounters with women in their thirties and forties in Hungary, Italy, and Canada. But it's so much more than that. Even though the novel is over 40 years old it's so refreshing to read a book that finds beauty on older women. "One of my chief irritations at the time was the blankness of the faces of my young girl friends," says the young Vajda of one married lover, Maya. "But Maya's face, with the fine lines of her 40 some years, expressed all the shades of her thoughts and emotions."

Vajda's many conquests are set against the various conquests of Hungary by the Austrians, Germans & Russians over the past centuries. It's as if Vizinczey is highlighting that no matter who invades Hungary human beings will continue to seek sex and love. Kingdoms and empires may come and go, promising refreshing newness - but love lives on, especially the love of older women. Especially the love of older women with their experience and history.

Recommended.
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on 13 April 2010
This book first came out in 1965 and swept the country's younger citizens (men usually)with its humorous slant on the allure of older women It has just been re-issued in Penguin Modern Classics. It is unashamedly about sex - in particular the initiation process insofar as it affects boys on the threshold of puberty and younger men.Brilliant stuff, and, bearing in mind that the author's first language is Hungarian, written in beautiful English. A laugh a minute, with some poignant moments, a thorougly excellent and unputdownable read.
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on 28 January 2016
this is a really interesting book because it isn't really a book in praise of older women! The writer was about thirty-five when he wrote it and none of the women he had by then slept with were much over forty. So if you are a fruity fifty-something woman, abandon hope now:it is not about the likes of you.It is about a young man learning about himself and women through his sex life.
But read it anyway. Most books aren't about sex and this one IS which means it is a rarity. It isn't pornographic because it is not about power-but it isn't very erotic either because it does not dwell very much on love and sex together.Any romantic would find it disappointing.
Three cheers however for the writer's insight into himself and the women he slept with. What he obviously had going for him was his intelligence and we have to assume that he must be good-looking to some degree. The other thing that he cannot quite hide,and berates himself for in the text is that he is damaged by his appalling wartime and refugee experiences-but this probably added substantially to his charm! More women love a great true story from your life than want to hear what the turnover of your business might be next year.
All the reviewers who say there is something chilly or lacking at the core of this book probably want sex to mean(eventually) real love. But what if it really is just sex? I think this is a strength of the book but I suppose it is much more likely to appeal to the sexually experienced and undeceived of both sexes.
Comments about 'The Sisterhood' not approving of it seem misplaced to me. I wouldn't,as a passionate feminist,ever tell either a nun or a prostitute that what she was doing was against women's interests-and I have a right to expect the same respect from other women. Stephen Viziczey is not a misogynist.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 December 2011
While this book does feature as its central topic sex and relationships I'm unsure that I would agree with some of the blurb on the back of the book that its "All about sex". It is definitely not a work of erotic fiction like any of Anis Nin's fiction or Henry Miller's fiction.

This is in many ways a very open hearted, humane and humanist confession or "life laid bare" to the reader. As such its in many ways very disarming when you are reading it. When possibly more chauvinistic or shocking content emerges, such as the protagonist casually discussing rape with women he aimed to seduce, it seems less repugnant.

The book, as I've said, is not "all about sex", it is a lifestory and rites of passage account in many ways. The protagonist grows up in a reliigous, conservative background and his father is kiled by the Nazis, he grows up with war (much of this reminded me of Ballard's Empire of The Sun), Nazi and Communist oppression, becoming politicised and fighting the communists, despairing of armed struggle and fleeing the country, living as a refugee and then making his way to the US.

This is all quite compelling by itself and really a fine human interest story but our protagonist is clear, while all these events have shaped his destiny his greatest drive is towards living life and enjoying affairs with older women.

He describes early in the book a sort of paradoxical personal utopia which he dreams about, in which he could live simultaneously as a monk and be entertained by a harem of mature ladies.

I would recommend this book of anyone, it really is a great piece of writing which should prove interesting. It is not erotic writing properly so considered, it is milder than some popular publishing (like Kelley Armstrong or Laurel K. Hamilton). I think that female readers could find this as interesting as male readers, I would hope that male or female readers would be equally concerned about the more chauvinistic elements, like opening discussing rape as though it were not threatening to do so. For male readers this could be enlightening and resonate with their experiences, pre-adolescent battles of the sexes, virginity, frigidity (to use an outdated or outmoded term), loneliness, doomed relationships and bad choices borne of high spirits are all here.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2010
This "fictional" memoir exudes warmth, compassion and acute observation coupled with the cramps of adolescent fantasies and clumsy amorous encounters. To some extent the work reminded me of Casanova's memoirs where this often misunderstood philosopher proclaims his eternal love of being in love. And Vizinczey/Vajda convey a similar attitude to the delights of women, their company and position in society. No surprise that marriage is seen as stifling, infidelity liberating and the passion of the moment all consuming. I enjoyed all Vajda's affairs and his complusion to seek out any opportunity no matter how hopeless it first appeared. For me the hero is immersed in the truth of being in love and not some shallow quest for selfish indulgence and arrogant bragging. Each chapter is headed by a quote and I think the most revealing is Kierkegaard: "The dread of life, the dread of onself..." Vajda lives for love and, in so doing, conveys a profound respect for older women that trangresses the youth obssessed banality of much of Western society. It is this aspect of the novel I wish to applaud for it shows that honesty, tolerance and a benign sensitivity can overcome our innate desire for self-gratification. About time this story was labelled a classic.
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on 2 September 2010
This is writing littered with style, calm assurance and what comes across as a life of amazing chance and inocence.
Falling out of one bed and into another occurs with great regularity yet none of the partings appear to result in any kind of bitternes. If the writer and his hero could write a manual on how to achieve such amourous success it would surely be a raging best seller. 11 out of ten.
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on 8 June 2015
I think this is a very decent book, not a super masterpiece but is certainly a modern classic. The kind of book that you like to read over a slow and lazy weekend (people, especially older women gave me funny looks on the train when seeing the cover). I'm Hungarian and never heard of the author before, I wish this had been a compulsory read in middle school rather than those boring plays, like Bank Ban ;)
There are several very delicate layers in the book behind the glaring sexual references, which are hard to notice, and I guess you need the kind of eye to see those layers.
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