Memento Park: Book summary and reviews of Memento Park by Mark Sarvas

Memento Park

by Mark Sarvas

Memento Park by Mark Sarvas X
Memento Park by Mark Sarvas
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A son learns more about his father than he ever could have imagined when a mysterious piece of art is unexpectedly restored to him.

After 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 Kálmán. 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?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Sarvas couples a suspenseful mystery with nuanced meditations on father-son bonds, the intricacies of identity, the aftershocks of history's horrors, and the ways people and artworks can — perhaps even must — be endlessly reinterpreted." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Because of its scope and deft handling of aspects of identity in matters of love, family, religion, and loss, this literary work is highly recommended to the broadest audience." - Library Journal

"Sarvas delivers a lively, thoughtful, psychologically compelling novel about the ties that bind, and the ties that fail to." - Kirkus

"If Sarvas' (Harry, Revised, 2008) plot twists in this heartfelt novel sometime seem aimed at a cinematic treatment, they are nicely balanced by more contemplative moments." - Booklist

"What does the next generation carry forward, and why is it so compelling? In his powerful novel Memento Park, Mark Sarvas explores the essential questions of history, its burdens, and legacies. The gifted novelist Sarvas takes us by the hand and tells us a story that demands to be heard." - Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko, finalist for the National Book Award

"Mark Sarvas has written a gripping mystery novel about art that is also a powerful meditation on fathers and sons, and the need to face up to the falsehoods spawned by the horror of the past." - Salman Rushdie

"A thrilling, ceaselessly intelligent investigation into the crime known as history." - Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland

"In Mark Sarvas' elegant, poignant, and intellectually arresting novel, the attempts to reclaim a painting seized by the Nazis opens up into a moving story about a father's desire to bury his past and a son's to claim it." - Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin

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Author Information

Mark Sarvas

Mark Sarvas is the author of the novel Harry, Revised, which was published in more than a dozen countries around the world. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, Bookforum, and many others. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, PEN/America, and PEN Center USA, and teaches novel writing at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. A reformed blogger, he lives in Santa Monica, California.

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