Twenty-five years later, his son Béla falls in love with Suzy Kiss, an ambitious and alluring Hungarian striptease dancer whose interest in Béla can be summarized in two words: green card.
When Suzy is mysteriously deported, a devastated Béla must make a decision - should he stay in New York and continue with the noble artistic ambitions his father instilled in him, or should he follow his heart to Hungary and explore the enticing and risqué opportunities blossoming in Budapest after the collapse of communism?
The City of Earthly Desire is a sweeping novel of love and lust, beauty and vulgarity, humor and pathos, and art and ethics. The story is peopled by a memorable cast of characters who are as intense, turbulent, and ambivalent as the place and time they occupy. Like the great novels of the 19th century, the narrative is epic in scope - entertaining and humorous, yet profound.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.11(d)|
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This is a daring and incisive novel that challenges our contemporary views of communism, liberalism, art, sex, tradition, and pornography. It is not always a "comfortable" read; however, it is never a dull one. The segments dealing with post-communist Hungary were especially insightful. If you are looking for a novel a traditional publisher would not touch "for all the right reasons", this is it.
The City of Earthly Desire by Francis Berger Political oppression, intense characters, family struggles, love, moral depravity, and a captivating narrative fill this historical novel. Berger gives us enough material to make a mini-series. We follow the Drixler family, specifically the son, Reinhardt, who we follow from birth to old age then his son, Bella, who we follow from birth to adulthood. We are also given time with Reinhardt's mother to see the stock from which this family came. We begin with a history lesson in the cost of communism. They are stripped of what has been earned by hard work. Left in poverty and often without a means to secure food and basic needs for themselves. In some ways worse was the taking of their dreams. Few were able to escape to freedom. One who was able to was Reinhardt. We spend much of our time with him and his family in New York as he is passionate about building a better future for his family. We also see his passion for art and the way he chooses to teach his son. Berger gives a novel filled with contrast and comparison as we see Reinhardt's life filled with love, commitment, and purity only to be heartbroken as these lessons are lost on the next generation. When Bella begins his downward spiral it is almost more than Reinhardt can stand and this life choice seems to have stolen Bella's soul. We see lust fulfilled, disregard for human life, and the depravity of man at its worse. We see deception, perversion and manipulation and self glorification. The descriptive nature of the strip clubs, pornographic photo shoots, film making and relationships among those involved is difficult reading. It fills so many chapters and it shows the escalation of lust sickening to the soul. We are eventually out of this time period and Berger does an exceptional work in the last portion of our story. I will not be specific as to avoid spoilers. Berger's style of writing is remarkable; fine and clear enough for the reader to follow and yet complex enough to allow reader to think and ponder. He challenges the intellect without alienating the simple. The intensity with which he develops his characters demands we know them. They range the entire spectrum of passions lust, jealousy, hate, love and forgiveness. We see inside their very heart and many times we either love or hate them. Because he has written covering so many years of our character's lives it is especially gratifying to see the way he develops them as they grow older. He again gives us contrast and comparison. Not all who grow older mature. We see some who learn to forgive, to embrace change, and to forsake poor choices. We see others determined to stay the course they have set. I enjoyed the historical aspects of this book, Berger's writing style and his characters.
Francis pens "The City of Earthly Desire" in a original plot filled with historical content, love, lust and a bit of humor. His characters were strong and well developed making this book a page turner. Highly recommended for all readers. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.