A son learns more about his father than he ever could have imagined when a mysterious piece of art is unexpectedly restored to himAfter receiving an unexpected call from the Australian consulate, Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting that he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during the Second World War. To recover the painting, he must repair his strained relationship with his harshly judgmental father, uncover his family history, and restore his connection to his own Judaism. Along the way to illuminating the mysteries of his past, Matt is torn between his doting girlfriend, Tracy, and his alluring attorney, Rachel, with whom he travels to Budapest to unearth the truth about the painting and, in turn, his family.As his journey progresses, Matt's revelations are accompanied by equally consuming and imaginative meditations on the painting and the painter at the center of his personal drama, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kalman. By the time Memento Park reaches its conclusion, Matt's narrative is as much about family history and father-son dynamics as it is about the nature of art itself, and the infinite ways we come to understand ourselves through it.Of all the questions asked by Mark Sarvas's Memento Park--about family and identity, about art and history--a central, unanswerable predicament lingers: How do we move forward when the past looms unreasonably large?...
|Number of Pages||:||288 pages|
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Memento Park Reviews
Contemplative.Insightful.Humorous.Bittersweet...These are all the adjectives that come to mind upon finishing this complex novel. While on the surface it appears to be about a second generation Jewish Hungarian American who despite knowing little about Judaism finds himself a recipient of a famous painting. This painting was taken from his family's home and under the restitution act, will soon make him a very rich man. He travels to Europe and around the US to uncover its story and how it fits i ...more
I am a Hungarian Jew. Matt’s journey is my journey. Can I write a review of this book, which I found so deeply moving that is not colored by my own experiences? I doubt it.
So, with that being said, I was extremely taken with Matt’s trip to his family roots in Hungary. Sarvas has written a beautiful novel about self-discovery by dealing with family history. The catalyst for his journey was the attempt to discover the true owner of a valuable painting done by a Hungarian artist, and stolen by a N ...more
This story morphs and disguises throughout, an occasional love story, a story of faith, the complications of a father son relationship, and the recently rediscovered painting "Budapest street scene" which has it own story. There were moments of sheer brilliance, I really enjoyed the moments when Mark directly addresses Virgil, a security guard at the auctioneers house, and the device the author uses to feel we are being directly communicated to as the readers in this master class of the slow rev ...more
Let me first say this is not a book I would have chosen to read but I ended up LOVING it. It is about a man’s earnest look at his Jewish roots, his relationship with his father, and his own claim to adulthood and meaning. The novel’s first person style is enchanting. It is altogether a worthwhile story and a must read.
Audiobook- narrated by David Ledoux was a ‘perfect/terrific’ choice for this novel . David Ledoux .....( must give this narrator credit), became more than a voice for Matt Santos, a secular Jewish protagonist.
He makes it abundantly clear that under the gruff, sardonic exterior of Matt, under his sarcasm, and occasionally self-loathing, Matt was troubled by his personal life, - [past and present] - his professional life....his relationships with his father, his fiancé, his lawyer, and his Jewish ...more
There were many reasons I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was born and raised in Hungary, I am Jewish and my family lost many members during the Holocaust. I grew up in communist Hungary and left for America way before the fall of communism. I have been back a few times after the fall, I have been to Memento Park, the title of this novel and I have seen the shoe memorial at the shore of the Danube.
So, this book was very special for me for all the above rea ...more
While this did not resonate with me the way I suspect it will with others, it's a well written novel of a man coming to terms with his own family history and with his father. Matt's world changes when he is contacted about a painting taken from his family during the Holocaust and travels to Hungary. The novel is framed in terms of Matt's rumination about the painting and life. It is indeed a book of self discovery and has some good points to make. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Mark Santos, born Mathias Santos, is a successful character actor living in Los Angeles with his fiance, Tracy, who is a sought-after catalog model. Mark and Tracy's careers aren't unusual for people who live in L.A., the hub of the entertainment industry in the USA. Mark Sarvas's new novel, MEMENTO PARK, is a vibrant rendition of a family who fled Hungary just as Hitler was about to overtake the country. The storyteller is Mark, the son of Gabor Szántós who ...more