More than two decades have passed since Peter Esterhazy ended his book "Helping Verbs of the Heart" with the sentence, 'I will write about all that in more detail later'. In this luminous novel, he finally makes the meaning of this literary mystery clear. "Not Art" is the story of a mother whose defining communication with the world is in the language of football, a vocabulary that eclipses not only her son, but everything else. Football, in the author's next to the last book a stage and a medium for private historiography, now acts as a filter through which the world is seen, and is the root of his relationship to his mother and his mother tongue: a mother's language complex. Readers will discover 'family stories', subtly written and rounded, filled with irony, beauty, history, the Magnificent Magyars, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, mother, life and death. There is emotion-platonic love, marital love, and a son's love for his parents. And there is the Esterhazyesque auto-reflexive textual world (Where does the author begin and end?). Old world glamour meets fractured post-war reality in a tale that touches on many aspects of life and philosophy relevant to us today - while centering on a son's relationship to his mother and the game of football that they love.
Praise for this book
"One of the most interesting and original writers of our time." - Mario Vargas Llosa
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Used availability for Peter Esterhazy's Not Art
February 2010 : USA Paperback