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Proust? Ha!

Michael Hofmann

21 August 1997
A Book of Memories 
by Péter Nádas, translated by Ivan Sanders and Imre Goldstein.
Cape, 706 pp., £16.99, August 1997, 9780224035248
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... for middlebrows. A Book of Memories must have been grindingly unpleasant to translate – I couldn’t face getting hold of the German version at least to compare translations – but Sanders and Goldstein haven’t done badly, though they haven’t been above such things as ‘back on track’ or ‘total eating pleasure’ or the description of a flaccid penis ‘lying on my thigh with infantine ...

Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann

19 November 1992
A Feast in the Garden 
by George Konrad, translated by Imre Goldstein.
Faber, 394 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16623 7
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Wartime Lies 
by Louis Begley.
Picador, 198 pp., £5.99, August 1992, 0 330 32099 8
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Brothers 
by Carmelo Samona, translated by Linda Lappin.
Carcanet, 131 pp., £13.95, August 1992, 0 85635 990 4
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Rolling 
by Thomas Healy.
Polygon, 161 pp., £7.95, July 1992, 0 7486 6121 2
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... After a lost war, Hofmannsthal said, one should write comedies, and in the Twenties, within his limitations and against his genius, he did just that. I wonder what he would prescribe for the countries of Eastern Europe – many of them former Habsburg territories – after what is infinitely worse than a lost war: regional entropy; systemic collapse; an abrupt close brackets on an experiment that failed ...

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