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Celestial Harmonies: A Novel by Peter…
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Celestial Harmonies: A Novel (original 2000; edition 2004)

by Peter Esterhazy (Author)

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434434,618 (3.64)20
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:Celestial Harmonies: A Novel
Authors:Peter Esterhazy (Author)
Info:Ecco (2004), Edition: 1St Edition, 864 pages
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Celestial Harmonies by Péter Esterházy (2000)

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Showing 4 of 4
Nuvole barocche si addensano in un cupo cielo medievale e gli aneddoti sugli Esterhazy fioccano come folgori preannunciate da tuoni che sconquassano l'atmosfera della Storia. La pioggia scende allegra e copiosa, divertita lungo tutto il Rinascimento, l'Età dei lumi e l'800.
Fine prima parte. (Dopo quasi 350 pagine)
Il cielo si rasserena, spunta il Sol dell'avvenire e la tormentata, sbalestrata famiglia Esterhazy della Repubblica Popolare d'Ungheria diventa cara come la famiglia Cipputi!
Fine ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
Logo percebi que era difícil para um não-húngaro entender o significado do nome Esterházy. Esse nome fazia as pessoas sonharem com nobreza e riqueza, era carregado de tradição e história - tudo mesclado com a história da própria Hungria. Os Esterházy eram os patrões de Haydn, os condes que mandaram construir em um lugar ermo o Palácio Esterháza, conhecido como a Versalhes húngara. O avô de Péter Esterházy, Móric Esterházy, era primeiro ministro e um dos maiores proprietários de terras do país. Era um nome quase mítico.
Isso nos permite compreender a primeira parte, que fala justamente da tradição da família. Nessa narrativa caótica, uma figura encarna toda a tradição dos Esterházy - e o autor o chama de "Meu pai". Assim, é ele o protagonista das ações mais famosas, obscuras e fictícias da família Esterházy. Como o Orlando de Virginia Woolf, ele vive pelos séculos e é alternadamente homem e mulher, mas é também Édipo, o personagem de um livro de Nabokov e o gato do experimento de Schrödinger.
A segunda parte conta a história da família de modo mais ordenado. Esterházy tem um domínio de linguagem que poucos escritores jamais tiveram, e prende o leitor do início ao fim dessa obra-prima de tradição e história familiar. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
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 them 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 fable. In the second (and for me, more successful half), the author focuses on his grandfather, his father and himself, telling stories that again appear to be a blend of true and untrue.

I frankly struggled through the book, despite feeling that Esterhazy had a wonderful way with language... there were sentences I just had to read again and a again because they were magical. But also, I felt like the vignettes dragged on -- how many times can you read that the Esterhazy men were womanizers? I came away thinking that I hoped most of the stories were fictional, because they seemed like horrible people.

All that said, I did find the portion of the book that focused on the family's downfall -- and forced move from a castle to a peasant's shack -- and their resulting strength and disintegration interesting. Overall, I give the book a sort of middling rating.... it was okay but not something I'd really heartily recommend reading. ( )
  amerynth | Aug 1, 2012 |
Few novels of recent years even approach the ambition of Celestial Harmonies by Péter Esterházy. He comes from an ancient aristocratic family whose members were involved in many of the important events of Hungarian and European history and were ultimately reduced in fortune only by communist rule; his massive new work covers nearly all of their saga in an alternately allegorical and personal style. The novel, like the Hungarian capital of Budapest, is bifurcated, with a first half comprising more than three hundred short sections called “sentences,€? all focusing on the doings of a universal father in a multiplicity of incarnations, from kings who battle gods to “two masked fathers of mineâ€? who rob a gas station at gunpoint. The first section as a whole is an unsorted and entertaining confusion that provides a kaleidoscopic vision of the passing centuries. As in his earlier novel, The Book of Hrabal, which celebrates the work of Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, Esterházy here is heavily allusive. He cribs lines from the books of many other modern and postmodern writers who’ve touched on the same themes—notably Donald Barthelme’s The Dead Father—and cites these in a selected bibliography. The second half of Celestial Harmonies is a somewhat more straightforward look at Esterhazy’s real father, whose core humanist values seem to survive the family’s decline under totalitarianism. The second section is told more concretely than the first, but there’s still a good deal of “shying away . . . leapfrogging back and forthâ€? in its 201 chapters, and the tone is still unsettled. Taken together, the two parts of the novel (or is it the 570 parts?) seem to address all the aspects of human endeavor, which means that the most appropriate adjective to employ in describing this novel is epic.
  lucienspringer | May 18, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Péter Esterházyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sollosy, JudithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Few of us can deal with the recent past. Either our present lives have too strong a hold on us, or else we are plunged into the troubled waters of the past, trying our utmost to bring back and retrieve something vanished beyond recall. Even in large and wealthy families who owe much to their ancestors, it is the custom to remember the grandfathers rather than the fathers.
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It is deucedly difficult to tell a lie when you don't know the truth.
Kutya nehéz úgy hazudni, ha az ember nem ösmeri az igazságot.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060501049, Hardcover)

Princes, counts, commanders, diplomats, bishops, and patrons of the arts, revered, respected, and occasionally feared by their contemporaries, the Esterházy family was among the greatest and most powerful aristocrats in Hungarian history. Celestial Harmonies is the intricate chronicle of this remarkable family, a story spanning seven centuries of epic conquest, tragedy, triumph, and near annihilation.

Told by Péter Esterházy, a scion of this populous family, Celestial Harmonies unfolds in two parts, revealing two versions of the Esterházy story. Book One is a compilation of short passages about the Esterházy men, sons reflecting on their fathers, from the earliest days of the Hapsburg Empire to its demise in the early twentieth century and beyond. At one point, the father is seen fighting the Turks and writing psalms, at another he is described as herding geese and feathering his already well-feathered nest. In the nineteenth century, he is caught cavorting with his mistress while looking after matters of state; in the 1940s and 1950s, he is seen helping to organize a number of conspiracies, then reporting them (and himself) to the secret police. Conversely, he is also seen apprehended and tortured by the authorities. The father is a monster and he is an angel, but, above all, he is a man in search of his God.

Book Two chronicles the final chapter in the life of the Esterházy family, from the short Communist take over of 1919 to World War Two and its aftermath, when Hungary fell to Soviet rule and the Esterházys succumbed to dispossession, resettlement, and impoverishment. Here, Péter Esterházy reveals the story of his immediate family, especially his father, Mátyás Esterházy, who was born into great wealth and privilege in 1919. He worked as a field hand and parquet floor layer under the hard-line Communists, then, later on, as a translator making a meager living. It is a biography of a man who, despite the brutal tides of history, never relinquished the humanist values that were his birthright, and that were as inseparable from him as his illustrious name and heritage.

On the first page of Celestial Harmonies, the father is seen as a baroque grand seigneur; on the last, he is seated by his typewriter, bereft of everything except for the one word, "homeland." The individual stories of these "fathers" -- separated by centuries -- are as complex as the history of Hungary itself. Dazzling in scope and profound in implication, Celestial Harmonies is fiction at its richest and most awe-inspiring.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Princes, counts, commanders, diplomats, bishops, and patrons of the arts, revered, respected, and occasionally feared by their contemporaries, the Esterhazy family was among the greatest and most powerful aristocrats in Hungarian history." "Celestial Harmonies is the chronicle of this remarkable family, a story spanning seven centuries of epic conquest, tragedy, triumph, and near annihilation. Told by Peter Esterhazy, a scion of this populous family, Celestian Harmonies unfolds in two parts, revealing two versions of the Esterhazy story. Book One is a compilation of short passages about the Esterhazy men, sons reflecting on their fathers, from the earliest days of the Hapsburgh Empire to its demise in the early twentieth century and beyond. At one point, the father is seen fighting the Turks and writing psalms, at another he is described as herding geese and feathering his already well-feathered nest. In the nineteenth century, he is caught cavorting with his mistress while looking after matters of state; in the 1940s and 1950s, he is seen helping to organize a number of conspiracies, then reporting them (and himself) to the secret police. Conversely, he is also seen apprehended and tortured by the authorities. The father is a monster and he is an angel, but, above all, he is a man in search of his God." "Book Two chronicles the final chapter in the life of the Esterhazy family, from the short Communist take over of 1919 to World War Two and its aftermath, when Hungary fell to Soviet rule and the Esterhazys succumbed to dispossession, resettlement, and impoverishment. Here, Peter Esterhazy reveals the story of his immediate family, especially his father, Matyas Esterhazy, who was born into great wealth and privilege in 1919. He worked as a field hand and parquet floor layer under the hard-line Communists, then, later on, as a translator making a meager living. It is a biography of a man who, despite the brutal tides of history, never relinquished the humanist values that were his birthright, and that were as inseparable from him as his illustrious name and heritage."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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