| the ledge files
the ledge - nl - uk
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2002
refered to by:
|Prague depicts an intentionally lost Lost Generation as it follows five American expats who come to Budapest in the early 1990s to seek their fortune – financial, romantic, and spiritual – in an exotic city newly opened to the West. They harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague, where the atmospheric decay of post–Cold War Europe is even more cinematically perfect, have it better. Still, they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making. What they actually find is a deceptively beautiful place that they often fail to understand. What does it mean to fret about your fledgling career when the man across the table was tortured by two different regimes? How does your short,|| uneventful life compare to the lives of those who actually resisted, fought, and died? What does your angst mean in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion?
Journalist John Price finds these questions impossible to answer yet impossible to avoid, though he tries to forget them in the din of Budapest's nightclubs, in a romance with a secretive young diplomat, at the table of an elderly cocktail pianist, and in the moody company of a young man obsessed with nostalgia. Arriving in Budapest one spring day to pursue his elusive brother, John finds himself pursuing something else entirely, something he can't quite put a name to, something that will draw him into stories much larger than himself.
|ARTHUR PHILLIPS' BOOKSHELF|
Bram Stoker, 1897
'This is the only epistolary novel I've ever read that involves more than 2 people.'
Vladimir Nabokov, 1962
'I am a big fan of VN, having read everything by him, and I do feel a kinship to him, in much of his philosophy of what he wanted his novels to do, what he felt they could accomplish, what he found beautiful in fiction. Pale Fire specifically is a great example of what can be done with structure, and how structure can be a reflection of plot and theme (and vice versa, infinitely)! I certainly aspired to that in The Egyptologist, and credited him, obliquely, here and there, for those in the know...'
ON MARGARET'S BOOKSHELF?
The Diary of Géza Csáth
Géza Csáth, 1989
'In the course of just one day, I live five thousand years ... Start smoking opium as a strong, mature man and ... you can reach the age of twenty million.'
- 'Opium', short story, 1909
'100 years [of opium addiction] aren't worth as much 34 [sober], with their real, true pleasures.'
- Csáth's diary entry, 1913
|BOOKS BY ARTHUR PHILLIPS:|
Darkly comic labyrinth of a story about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king.
|WHAT TO READ AFTER THE EGYPTOLOGIST|
(EARLY) 20TH-CENTURY EGYPT
'The Cairo Trilogy'
Naguib Mahfouz, 1956-1957
The story of a Muslim family in Cairo during Britain's occupation of Egypt in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Norman Mailer, 1983
Crossing three millennia to Pharaonic Egypt, this tale returns to that land' s essences – the war, magic, gods, death and reincarnations, the lusts, ambitions, jealousies, and betrayals.
The Son of Light
Christian Jacq, 1997
First in a series of five novels about the dynasty of Egypt's greatest pharoah, Ramses II (13th-century BC).
DOWNHILL ALL THE WAY
The overconfident violin-maker Vedder and his nephew Anijs, a country pharmacist, walk into a trap of their own making.
In May 1990, five American expats come to Budapest to change the course of their lives.
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