The Snows Of Yesteryear is an uncompromising account of Gregor von Rezzori's aristocratic childhood in Romania in the days before World War II.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyBorn into the Austro-Hungarian aristocratic class, Rezzori saw his family reduced to nomadic refugees by WW I. Despite his parents' marital break-up and the occupation of his native duchy, Bukovina, by Rumania in 1919 and by Russia in 1940, his family lived under the illusion of pseudofeudal grandeur. In this intense group portrait, the author of the novel Memoirs of an Anti-Semite limns five key people who molded him. His overprotective, proud mother, a woman of ``lifelong rancor,'' was a mismatch for his cheerful, voluble father, an architect and hunting enthusiast set in his rigid ways and pathological prejudices. Cassandra, his nanny, a peasant woman who wore exotic garb, kept up his spirits with clownish pranks. We also meet Bunchy, his worldly German governess, and his sister with whom Rezzori had a sibling rivalry, but whose death at age 22 haunts him. (Dec.)
Library JournalVon Rezzori, author of the novel Memoirs of an Anti-Semite , focuses on a childhood in Bukovina ``spent among mad and dislocated personalities.'' His nurse, an illiterate peasant called ``the savage'' by the family, provides him the warmth and love his parents cannot give and symbolizes for him his visceral connection to his homeland. His mother's real tenderness alternates with neurotic anxiety and rage; rather asexual, she is the wrong match for his father's vital, ``highly luminous temperament.'' They separate, and her remarriage is disastrous. Von Rezzori's ``astonishingly precocious'' sister dies an early death mysteriously linked to a failed business venture of his mother. His governess fosters his drawing talent, but his sister's death and his mother's ``need'' of him stifle his budding career. These five portraits shed light on the old Europe of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the way of life that passed with it.-- Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st American ed
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