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The Book Of Fathers Paperback – 6 Jul 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349119309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349119304
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

** 'A superb family saga that draws the reader effortlessly through nearly three centuries of turbulent history ... The characters are fascinating and Vamos's writing is a magnificent, seamless blend of the general and the personal (THE TIMES)

** 'A warm, humorous, courageous story ... a wonderful reading experience. Highly recommended, especially for lovers of Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude (HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW)

** 'Intricately structured and enigmatically imaginative . . . The book is shot through with ideas about music, nationality, astrology, Judaism, and a troublesome relationship with time. Massive in scale but intimate in tone, the novel oscillates between a kind of ornate folk-tale roughness and a lighter yet more sombre beauty (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

* An epic tour de force about ten generations of one family in war-torn Hungary.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Delving back through the years and history of Hungary through 12 successive generations of one family, Miklos Vamos's book is a large tome, but one that is made quite readable and accessible though a simple trick.

Although it dates back to the history of his great-great-grandfather, the story proper, as recorded in the Book of Fathers in which each records their history, starts back in 1705 with Kornel Csillag. Kornel inherits a gift from his grandfather that is passed through succeeding generations - the gift of seeing in visions the past history of the preceding first-born males of the family, and some are also blessed with the gift of divining the future. This turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing, since the family have several Jewish strands and live through difficult times, subject to pogroms, the political upheavals, arrests and inquisitions of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Holocaust, and even the conflicts caused by family differences over marriage alliances - but even with awareness of the future, they are unable to avoid their ultimate fates.

What makes the book such good reading is that it is broken down into a series of episodic adventures, each of the members of the family being gifted with a particular quality - a great singer, a linguist, a gambler etc.- one that is cumulatively inherited through the shared memory of the next generation, marking them out for an intriguing life. It also manages to set this against the struggle for Hungarian language and independence, building into a kind of Hungarian `100 Years of Solitude'.
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Format: Paperback
A novel of extraordinary depth and quality. The nature of memory and meaning itself are explored in this book in a way that is engaging for any reader. Those with some background in Hungarian history will particularly appreciate the many references to landmark moments and figures, but such a knowledge is not essential in order to be absorbed by this rare masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading it--and that comes from someone who rarely reads books. If you're a man and you're interested in your family history then I recommend this book to you without a doubt, because it explores the issues of genetic inheritance, fate and how knowledge of the past affects our future.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really good read!
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By John Williams VINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I persevered with this book, as it was a Christmas present from my Hungarian daughter-in-law. Sad to say, I did not really connect with it. The book presents a history of twelve generations of a family, the story being passed from one first born son to the next. There are some recurring themes such as the gift of second sight, the fact that each father is born under a successive sign of the zodiac, the curious timepiece that is passed down through the generations, as well as the inheritance of certain family characteristics, but these themes failed to bring sufficient cohesion to the book as a whole, and none of the twelve characters were sufficiently developed for their individual stories to be interesting in their own right. One device the author uses to keep the stories of each father distinct and separate is to have most of them meet untimely deaths, which I found a bit depressing. I had hoped that the book would give me some understanding of Hungarian history and culture, but it was disappointing in this respect too. Oh well, perhaps I just live too far out on the Celtic fringe to understand a people in land-locked central Europe.
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