Celestial Harmonies

Celestial Harmonies Harmonia Caelestis is the product of a decade of labour a monumental part autobiographical family history If Helping Verbs of the Heart was an homage to his mother then this is a memorial to his fat

  • Title: Celestial Harmonies
  • Author: Péter Esterházy Pťer Esterhz̀y Judith Sollosy
  • ISBN: 9780007141470
  • Page: 437
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Harmonia Caelestis is the product of a decade of labour a monumental, part autobiographical family history If Helping Verbs of the Heart was an homage to his mother, then this is a memorial to his father It is actually two works in one Book 1, Numbered Sentences from the Life of the Esterh zy Family , comprises 371 paragraphs, some elusively succinct, others pages lonHarmonia Caelestis is the product of a decade of labour a monumental, part autobiographical family history If Helping Verbs of the Heart was an homage to his mother, then this is a memorial to his father It is actually two works in one Book 1, Numbered Sentences from the Life of the Esterh zy Family , comprises 371 paragraphs, some elusively succinct, others pages long, that amount to a gloriously kaleidoscopic romp through the centuries that lie behind this European dynasty Not that the name Esterh zy is ever uttered the main protagonist of each episode is invariably identified as my father , whether he is an anti Habsburg Kuruc insurrectionist or a Habsburg loyal Labanc, a hammer of the Ottomans, a dying old man, a prisoner of war, a lord charming enough to enchant Goethe himself, or a childless man, to mention but a few of my fathers , all evoked through the language and literature proper to each persona This strategy of anonymity allows Esterh zy to extend his typically vast net of quotations to sources that originally have no family connotations whatsoever, thereby lending broader significance to the particulars of this one family, however grand, and, vice versa, appropriating the general European experience to the family s specific circumstances The baroquely exuberant proliferation of anecdotal gleanings and fragments of real and fictional history, drawing on a gamut of written genres, from maxims to parables, from confessional autobiography to the account books and chronicles, is ultimately threaded together by an unobtrusive, profoundly witty and wise philosophical vein.Book 2, subtitled Confessions of an Esterh zy family , is ostensibly a conventional family novel Its very subtitle alludes to an earlier Hungarian masterpiece of the genre, Confessions of a Bourgeois, 1934 35 by S ndor M rai It consists of a series of snapshots of key events in the lives of the author s great grandfather, grandfather, father and the young Esterh zy himself These are built up, over two hundred numbered passages, into a or less chronological portrait of a century and a half of steady decline of the family s fortunes After 1945 the Esterh zys suffered an almost catastrophic repeat of the confiscations and curtailment of liberties that befell them during the short lived Commune of 1919 one that not only stripped them of their former rank and privileges but threatened their very subsistence Largely anecdotal and often absurd in tone, much of this is recounted with great gusto from the author s personal perspective, not least the stories of his own childhood, such as being accidentally dropped into the baptismal font the trek to a godforsaken village in July 1950 when an official deportation order resulted in the family being dumped in one of two rooms in a peasant couple s house schooldays and trips to matches with his football mad father For all the vicissitudes and uncertainties it describes, the tone of the writing throughout is one of blithely upbeat humour and harmony, without a hint of reproach, regret or complaint A captivatingly rich novel in terms of both its form and its stance Certainly it is the most striking work of the fifty year old author s career to date, and I would evenventure to call it an epitome of the Esterh zy oeuvre Given its formal richness, however, it is in a way also a compendium of two to three centuries of Hungarianprose P ter D rczy, let s Irodalom This new novel is no less constructed of fragments than his earlier novels, and those are no less whole, but this has the widest span of any Esterh zy composition to date it is a sweeping, baroque work J zsef Tam s Rem nyi, N pszabads g

    One thought on “Celestial Harmonies”

    1. “Fear and communists, everything here begins with them, and will end with them too, it seems.”Celestial Harmonies is a book of the earthly disharmonies and it consists of two parts:The first half of a novel is a huge list of the probable author’s fathers that could exist since the medieval epoch… It is an exhaustive inventory of all possible father’s vices and sins and wrongdoings…And Péter Esterházy, like the patent Oedipus, pitilessly kills all his hypothetical fathers all down t [...]

    2. Celestial Harmonies: (1990) All the world’s a stage art and pageantry in the Renaissance and baroque.Especially in its first part, reading Celestial Harmonies is like reading snippets from the life of demi-gods up there in Mount Olympus. The first person fragmented narrative goes anywhere you don’t know what the narrator will tell you next. It could be the chandelier, the contents of the treasure drawer, how much does the king-father loves his mother or his mistress, how the king father sear [...]

    3. When my brother's knee was injured while into competitive sports (naks!) he was operated on at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. On the day of his discharge from the hospital he requested me to pick him up as he couldn't then drive by himself.I was able to immediately free myself from my other commitments that day so I drove to the hospital about an hour early. Not wanting to wait too long, I decided to drop by the Booksale store nearby. As I entered the store the first book I saw wa [...]

    4. Esse livro foi o que escolhi para representar a Hungria na Volta ao Mundo em Livros.Os Esterházys foram nobres húngaros importantes, condes, diplomatas, guerreiros, políticos. O seu palácio era conhecido como a Versalhes húngara. Eles são para os húngaros algo como os Kennedys, os Rotschilds e os Rockefellers, tudo em uma só família, segundo o próprio autor. Fora do país, são muito conhecidos como os patronos de Haydn. Durante o comunismo, perderam tudo. Péter Esterházy se voltou e [...]

    5. This review needs some context. Péter Esterházy was born in 1950 in Budapest to one of the most notable noble families of former Austro-Hungarian monarchy. This novel is divided in two parts: the first one is a collection of sentences about Esterházy men since the formal foundation of the family around the end of the 16th century, while the second part has a structure more similar to that of a novel and tells the story of Péter himself, his father and his grandfather. I chose this book becau [...]

    6. My word, that was a chore. 841 pages of literary fanciness, jumpy storytelling, and unsympathetic family issues. I have no idea why this book was written the way it was. I'm not a fan of innovative methods and zany structures. I like a good story I can get my teeth into, and that never happens throughout the length of this book. The first section consists of numbered paragraphs, mostly short but sometimes 3-4 pages in length, all about "my father." But "My Father" may be an Esterhazy of any gene [...]

    7. The first section was too repetitive for me. I enjoyed the second section much more. The writing throughout the book is erudite, aristocratic, but my favorite lines were about the decay of that sense of grandeur. One section in particular stuck out to me, where the narrator of the second section is looking at all these old objects his grandma has, and is trying to imagine a world so focused on aesthetics that it could create them.

    8. An edited version of this article was first published as Book Review: Celestial Harmonies by Péter Esterházy on Blogcritics.A noble family, and hundreds of years of history. This novel packs more historical events than any other book I have seen, all written from the point of view of the lastest descendant of the Esterházy family. However, finishing this book left me dissatisfied, and wished I didn't pick up this book in the first place. Let me tell you why.But first, a little attempt at a sy [...]

    9. When I read a fiction book, I don't expect too much from it. A decent plot and halfway developed characters are really all I need. Hand me an 800 pages plus fiction book, an, by golly, both plot and characters have better be spectacular. Sadly, this book gave a semi-autobiographical, semi-fictional bunch of unconnected thoughts with characters that weren't developed any farther than "This was my aunt. She like coffee" or some such factoid that had nothing to do with the story itself. Not a very [...]

    10. #1001books #696leftThis had so much more potential, but ended up being incredibly confusing. The problem here is not the length, but the lack of general knowledge about Hungarian history and the style the book is written in. I am not a fan of pomo, random, stream of conscious form of writing, which is what this was. I found the second book much more readable (and intelligible) than the first, but my mind is more attuned to facts and concrete details than poetry and random jumps. The writing is g [...]

    11. I have to admit, I struggled with this book and did not finish it. I gave it two stars for the writing style but realised that it wasn't for me. It felt rather disjointed in a way I did not like.

    12. Whew! This was a fascinating book about Hungary, fathers, history, and everything else, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved when Count Esterhazy ran out of pages.I'd read a couple of other Esterházy works, and it's clear he's a much better aphorist than a novelist. His way with words is incredible; there's no writer I can think of apart from Nietzsche who has a better ear for irony and paradox. He's often laugh out loud funny. However, his skill works much better in the context of the [...]

    13. "En el curso de la mencionada discusión que apenas era una discusión le esbocé a papi -que no me hacía ni caso- las líneas esenciales de mi proyecto, especialmente la idea de rescatar la memoria común, desde el coro de los ángeles hasta el estofado, desde el cardenal Péter Pázmany hasta mi pito, desde mi querida madre hasta mi querido padre, y subrayé el hecho de que -¡qué pensamiento más bonito!- la memoria de todos es también la mía y la suya, la de mis hermanos, la de los vecin [...]

    14. One of the better big books that have not gotten the attention they deserve. A remarkable fictionalized chronicle of the author's aristocratic family from the Hapsburg Empire to the present day.

    15. I'm at a loss to describe what it is that I just finished reading. 846 pages of garbage. I realize that many times new styles of writing can be celebrated, but I honestly can't remember anything that occurred in book one.It was so disjointed and random, I seemed to finish page after page wondering what I just read.Terrible doesn't even begin to describe this book.

    16. First of all this book is out of print. I bought my copy from the now defunct playtrade.During the past two weeks I have 1) Slept very badly, usually waking up at 2 in the morning and 2) been without a computer. As a result I was able to finish off this weighty tome in a couple of weeks. Saying that I really wasn’t in the mood for reading 900 pages about Hungarian history at this point in time!For those who don’t know the Esterhazy’s are one of Hungary’s most prominent families. Boasting [...]

    17. Peter Esterhazy's "Celestial Harmonies" is a difficult book for me to rate. I went into it knowing little to nothing about Hungarian history and nothing at all of the Esterhazy family, which apparently was full of filthy rich landowners until the Communists arrived, eager to take the ostentatious Esterhazys down a peg.The novel tells its story in two very separate parts -- the first half in short vignettes telling tales about decades of Esterhazy men, which appears to be a mixture of fact and fa [...]

    18. I don't like giving a respected work only one star. It leaves me feelings of guilt and inadequacy: if this book is so well liked, it must be that I am an intellectual pygmy for not appreciating it. It can't be the author's fault - it must be me. But shelving my inferiority complex and my damaging ignorance of Hungarian history, I'm really not convinced this is any good. The first section, 371 numbered sentences, jump-cutting random moments from the history of the author's own illustrious noble f [...]

    19. Ik lees dit boek nu voor de 2de keer. Het is in het Duits en was jaren geleden, toen ik weinig Duits las, best moeilijk. Nu heb ik er erg van genoten en kan het aanbevelen (Het is in ieder geval in het Engels vetaald). Het is wel een hele pil, maar opgedeeld in veel kleine stukjes; dat leest makkelijk. De schrijver is een telg uit het beroemde Esterhazy geslacht, die onder de communisten uiteraard alles kwijt geraakt zijn. In de eerste elft van het boek beschtijft hij zijn voorvaderen en noemt d [...]

    20. Esterházy's probably one of the cleverest writers I've ever read. It takes a few pages to get used to the first bit of the book full of magical realism, some parts laugh out loud funny (just warning you in case you read it on the bus like me), others a bit disturbing To sum it up, I can only quote the translator Judith Sollosy (who has a done a great job with the translation BTW): "I can't help thinking that when the Good Lord created the world in six days and took off for the Bahamas on the s [...]

    21. It was very difficult for me to get through this book; while I appreciate Esterhazy's artistic concept, the weird narration (especially in the first part) made it hard to read. But soon, when I got used to Esterhazy's writing style I started to like the novel and got really hooked in the second part. "Celestial Harmonies" is definitely worth reading, but before you read it try to find and read at least an outline of Hungarian history, it makes the story easier to understand and - what is more im [...]

    22. my boyfriend read this book and could not stop raving about it. i've read other esterhazy books, but this one has always intimidated me -- there's an entire chapter that is simply an inventory of family heirlooms. i haven't researched this book to decipher the fact from fiction in it's creation, but i've decided to set aside laura warholic, which is equally intimidating, and give this one a read. so far so good. esterhazy is a pretty brilliant writer -- i have loved everything i've read thus far [...]

    23. Hmm. The second enormous Hungarian novel I've abandoned in a year. I'll need to consider this further, but right now I'd rather simply read something else.I don't care for the casual tone, though it was the book's structure that was the first major turn-off for me too self-consciously postmodern.

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