THE BOOK OF FATHERS BY MIKLOS VANOS (BOOK REVIEW)

 In this post, I'll review a historical novel titled The Book of Fathers by Hungarian author Miklos Vanos.  I'm glad I own a copy of this book, for it is worth a reread.  I have read this book many years ago, but I haven't published a review of it on my blog yet. Considering that I still remember this novel fondly, I think a book review is due. 

I remember my first reading experience of this book quite clearly. For some reason I was sure that I was going to like this novel, even before I know what it was about. The cover attracted me as much as the title. When I've read the opening lines I was positive that I'd enjoy this one. I was right. The book dragged me in and took me for quite a ride.In fact, I absolutely loved The Book of Fathers









A FASCINATING PREMISE IN A WELL ROUNDED FAMILY EPIC
This is a well rounded epic story, spending over centuries, following lives of one Hungarian family. Perhaps the most fascinating premise is the one about the ability to look into the past. A magical sort of ability in a way. However, the author makes it seem so credible. The idea is this- men from this family can look into the past of their ancestors. Isn't that something we'd all love to do? The firstborn sons ( at some time in their life) receive the books of Fathers, but they inherit something even more unusual than centuries old diary. The firstborn sons develop the ability to see into the past of their predecessors and sometimes also to get a glimpse of future. This leads to all kind of adventures, as you might imagine.

AN INTERESTING PREMISE- BEING ABLE TO TAP INTO THE MEMORY OF ANCESTORS
What does this remind me of? I'd have to say Dune, yes the brilliant SF saga. Taken that I absolutely love Dune that is an obvious plus in my book. I always felt like Dune covered the theme of prescience so well. The issue of prescience is masterfully tackled here as well. Can we escape the future if we can see it? What can the knowledge of history bring to us? What dangers and what benefits? What else to say but this is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful historical novel! Did I mention that I love history? When people ask me whether I like historical fiction, I'm not sure what to answer. It depends on the book, really. I've read both historical fiction that I liked and disliked. Some others are better than others at recreating that feeling of history. This author is simply brilliant at it. Vamos takes us into past with his writing, he really does. In addition, he does it so effortless. That's what impressed me the most, the ease with which he writes and connects all of his numerous first born protagonists.

A STORY THAT DEVELOPS WITH EASY, LINKING THE PAST WITH THE PRESENT

It is fascinating how well the story develops, managing to connect past times with present. The challenges of life in general remain very similar, as do those of family life and fatherhood but times are very different and these changes manifest as the story develops. Some thins change while others don't. Vamos has a great eye for detail and he captures it well. The writer is very successful in recreating past times. He has a sense for history and realizes that different times bring different customs, philosophy, way of thinking. Unlike some writers whose historical novels have nothing to do with history. That's the kind of historical writing I don't like, the kind where you basically have the present day mentality, like you've gathered a group of people and put them into historical costumes and called it history. Vamos is too good of an author to fall into that trap. I know I only read one of his novels, but in this novel he really does a great job of tackling historical writing.

THE SHIFTING NARRATIVES MIGHT BE CONFUSING TO SOME READERS

What else to say? The only down side is that some people might find it confusing, with the changes of protagonists. Personally, I quite liked that. That's actually one of my favourite things about this novel, all the different points of view. However, you'll need to pay attention while you're reading, so that you don't get yourself lost in different POV. Yes, concentration is indeed needed while reading because sometimes things change quite rapidly. Moreover, there are so many things happening, sometimes at the same time, so many trains of thoughts and action to follow.

You never know what to expect with this one, as unexpected events, tragedies and strokes of luck always seem to be behind the corner. History is always an eventful place, isn't? This writer keeps its reader on its toes, and sometimes so much is happening that you risk to lose track of what person's life you're following at the moment. I say almost because all the family members described are very unique and that makes following their history easier. Often it is the case that the son is completely unlike his father in character, appearance and spirit. Often the apple does fall far away from the three. Yet, there is something that links all the man of this family but it is not easy to define what exactly it is. Personally, I loved how unique all the characters are.

To conclude, I do recommend this novel. If you like dynamic novels with a changing POV, this is the perfect novel of you. As for those of you who are particularly interested in European or Hungarian history, well you might enjoy it even more. It is an original and intelligent family saga, that manged to be both imaginative and convincing. Highly recommended!


I PLAN TO READ MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

While I didn't feel like I have established a deeper connection with this author on the merit of this book alone, this novel certainly got me interested into reading more from Miklos Vanos.  Sometimes the connection with a writer doesn't happens instantly,  even when you truly enjoy the book and believe me I immensely enjoyed reading this novel. It is an interesting, thought provoking, and brilliantly written family saga. I didn't feel it was one of those life changing books, but that doesn't mean I don't think highly of it. Honestly, the novel itself is quite spectacular. The writing is simply brilliant.





Thank you for reading and stopping by!

Comments

  1. Have Always Found Your Book Reviews Intriguing - Wonderful Capture Of You Two There As Well - Keep On Keeping On

    Cheers

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  2. No lo conocía, pero tomo nota. Te mando un beso y gracias por la reseña.

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  3. This sounds like an interesting read.
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  4. Hello Ivana, I hope you're enjoying summer despite the heat! I also hope you're having a good experience at your new work!

    I have to say I missed your book reviews over here! They are interesting, intriguing and they make me wanna have 10 lives to read more and more books! I didn't know a lot about Miklos Vanos but a friend once recommended me another title from the author. It is interesting that you found some parallelism with Dune (that is also on my list). I also like the fact that you can get a glimpse from Hungarian history through the story of The Book of Fathers.

    Talking about the outfit I loved that cherry printed skirt, it looks fresh and perfect for summer! I also liked the pic you posted with one of your artworks *_* Amazing as a cover portfolio!

    Take care friend!
    Pablo
    www.HeyFungi.com

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  5. That sounds like a fascinating read, Ivana, thank you so much for sharing!
    Also loving your cute outfit with the cherry patterned skirt and the yellow jumper! xxx

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  6. Thanks for the fashion and beautiful paintings in the post. I got distracted. Wonderful to read your book review. So it was as good as it was the first time? It's funny how some books I have read have lost its luster since the first go around. So glad to see your post! All the best to your adventures.

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  7. We missed you with your posts :) It's wonderful to see you again on the blog! It amazes me that with your hard work over the season, you have the will and energy to read the book and share a fantastic review with us! Miracle :)

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  8. I forgot to tell you that your pictures are always awesome :)))

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  9. Great to see you looking so colourful, and also working on your paintings, Ivana! I love Dune (I just loaned my copy to my friend on the weekend!) so I'll keep my eyes peeled for this novel.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Thinking of you. Hope you’re doing well. Regine
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  12. Thank you so much for this review Ivana :)
    And I loved your summer outfits!
    Have a lovely week!

    www.luciagallegoblog.com

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  13. The premise of this books does sound quite compelling especially since the magical ability to look into the past is involved. I usually don't mind shifting narratives as long as a writer does a good job of differentiating between the POV they're focusing on. I hope life has been treating you well and you're having a good summer Ivana.

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  14. I love that picture of you two. It's wonderful. xx

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  15. Your review pulled me in! I love reading how you viewed your own reading of this historical book! I find it immersive and show your love for historical elements. I think when an author can pull you in like this through his writing, you come up with the most captivating review! As always, you look so lovely in your outfits with your paintings! Lovely snap of the two love birds too! :) xo

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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