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Journey by Moonlight (Anglais) Broché – 7 octobre 2014

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Broché, 7 octobre 2014
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Journey by Moonlight is a beautiful book, the sort of book that stays imprinted on some soft part of you for a long time. Its intelligence is so humane—so forgiving to the last...And from the wreckage of the Holocaust, from such horrible annihilation, from such a violent silencing of so many voices, this extraordinary novel emerges as another improbable survival." —Becca Rothfeld, The New Republic

“A devastatingly intelligent novel of love, society and metaphysics in a mid-1930s Europe....As a study of erotic caprice, Journey by Moonlight is brilliant, but it is so much more than just a romp.” —Toby Lichtig, The Times Literary Supplement

“A writer of immense subtlety and generosity....Can  literary mastery be this quiet-seeming, this hilarious, this kind? Antal Szerb is one of the great European writers.” —Ali Smith

“Just divine...I can’t remember the last time I did this: finished a novel, and then turned straight back to page 1 to start it over again. That is, until I read Journey by Moonlight...It’s a comedy, but a serious and slyly clever one, the kind of book that makes you imagine the author has had private access to your own soul...Len Rix [has] managed to translate Szerb’s book into beautifully fluent English, and what we have is a work of comedy and depth, the comedy all the more striking in that the chief subjects of the book are abnegation and suicide...No one who has read it has failed to love it.” —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
“A novel to love as well as admire, always playful and ironical, full of brilliant descriptions, bon mots and absurd’s a book utterly in love with life.” —Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Guardian, Books of the Year
“This radiantly funny and intelligent novel...shows its author to be one of the masters of twentieth-century fiction. Len Rix’s loving translation of a book that might have remained lost to us deserves special praise.” —Paul Bailey, The Times Literary Supplement, International Books of the Year
“Szerb’s first novel exulted in the absurdity of life while his last despaired over it. His most well-known work, Journey by Moonlight, written in 1937, maintained a powerful tension between both...May Szerb’s re-entrance into our literary pantheon be definitive.” —Alberto Manguel
“Mihály’s relationship with Tamás is so myopic and worshipful as to bring back memories of Death in Venice, but I respect Szerb’s book more...the book is one of the few written before the deluge that acknowledges a bourgeois unreality with an unblinkered eye.” —David Auerbach
“One of the friends I mentioned put a small book in my hand and said: ‘Len, you must read this. Every educated Hungarian knows and loves this book.’ It was Antal Szerb’s Utas és holdvilág. Within a few pages I knew it was a great European novel, and I determined not just to translate it but to try and give it a translation of the literary quality it deserves.” —Len Rix
“A veritable avalanche of brilliant perceptions...It’s all so earnest, so up-to-date, so symbolic, so sophisticated, so marvelously pleased with itself and yet so naïve and unhappy you don’t know whether to consume the book at a sitting or throw it away...Journey by Moonlight is a burning book, a major book.” —George Szirtes
“A stealthy masterpiece...both comic and beautiful.” —The Telegraph
“Wonderfully wry...We owe thanks to Len Rix, Szerb’s accomplished translator, for his part in raising from the dead a writer of such cool irony and historical sympathy.” —New Statesman

“[A] great masterpiece of high modernism…a bildungsroman of the twentieth century itself. In translator Len Rix’s gifted hands, it becomes a powerful and poignant testament to Antal Szerb’s learning and speaks to his many accomplishments…At its heart, Szerb’s narrative is a remarkable, painstaking study of a man’s fascination with his own mortality.” —Carla Baricz, Words Without Borders 

Présentation de l'éditeur

An NYRB Classics Original

The trouble begins in Venice, the first stop on Erzsi and Mihály’s honeymoon tour of Italy. Here Erzsi discovers that her new husband prefers wandering back alleys on his own to her company. The trouble picks up in Ravenna, where a hostile man zooms up on a motorcycle as the couple are sitting at an outdoor café. It’s János, someone Mihály hasn’t seen for years, and he wants Mihály to come with him in search of Ervin, their childhood friend. The trouble comes to a head when Mihály misses the train he and Erzsi are due to take to Rome. Off he goes across Italy, wandering from city to city, haunted and accosted by a strange array of figures from the troubled youth that he thought he had left behind: There are the charismatic siblings, Éva and Tamás, whose bizarre amateur theatricals linked sex and death forever in his mind; Ervin, a Jew turned Catholic monk who was his rival for Éva’s love; and again, that ruffian on the motorcycle.

Antal Szerb’s dreamlike adventure, like Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, is an intoxicating, utterly individual mix of magic, madness, eros, and menace. In the words of the critic Nicholas Lezard, “No one who has read it has failed to love it.”

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5 37 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Strange Emotional Breakdown Turns Funny, Touching, and Insightful 25 mars 2011
Par Ethan Cooper - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
The outstanding JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT begins with the Rome honeymoon of Mihaly and Erzsi, a bourgeois couple from Pest. This is the first marriage for the 36 year-old Mihaly, who expected this marriage to cap a fifteen year period of disciplined conformity and hard work. Meanwhile, this is the second marriage for Erzsi, who has renounced her wealthy first husband to marry Mihaly, who she views as a person of subtle rebellion and mystery. But on the honeymoon, Mihaly has a strange breakdown when the power of his intense adolescent friendships resurfaces and overwhelms his commitment to a responsible bourgeois life. Then the couple, through sheer chance, separates and the bride and groom each enter a period of self-seeking, which exposes both the power of their pasts and their core values. JbM is truly exceptional fiction.

Szerb organized JbM into four sections. The first shows Mihaly during his breakdown, when he demonstrates mighty ambivalences, as well as tells the gripping story of his youthful friendships. In section two, Mihaly begins to emerge from his breakdown, when he travels in arbitrary fashion through Tuscany. In this section, his troubling ambivalences lessen and he finds solace in the Italian countryside, which Szerb describes with a loving eye. In section three, a calmer Mihaly emerges and begins to reengage with the jilted Erszi, who is living in Paris. This Mihaly, while still peculiar, is hilarious. And he encounters an old friend, an eccentric academic, who puts an intellectual gloss of Mihaly's strange nostalgia for his adolescent friends. Part four shows these newlyweds in surprising moments of truth, with Mihaly becoming even funnier. "You were always a strange boy," his father observes in the book's final few paragraphs.

This is a major work of fiction in which Szerb manages to address such subjects as rebellion, the pursuit of personal truth, and some very weird thoughts about the propinquity of eroticism and death in a highly original and often hilarious tale.

I'm out of my depth here: But is this Woody Allen meets Thomas Mann?

Highly recommended.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Journey by Moonlight ( 26 août 2016
Par Linda Echols - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I'll try ;not to get carried away here. I read some reviews where the readers said this was the best book they had ever read. They have some stretching ahead of them. I like hungarian writing but these characters acted and sounded like Brutish. The translator might be the problem. To me, everything about this story seemed affected.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Italy, life, death 7 octobre 2010
Par S. Smith-Peter - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
This story, of two Hungarians who have run off with each other and are now on their honeymoon in fascist Italy, could be read as a bourgeois cautionary tale. Mihály, who has married another man's ex-wife, Erzsi, finds that once he leaves behind the rituals of the office that his life falls apart. Erzsi finds that once she's made a grab for erotic pleasure that it's hard to stop, even after Mihály leaves her on their honeymoon. Mihály's journey through Italy clearly shows the terror and joy of living life outside a schedule. The book can also be read as a comment on Mihály's lack of imagination, as he assumes that this way of being must mean he wants to die and it takes him nearly the entire book to realize that actually he wants to live. Mihály's struggle with the erotic pull of death takes place in fascist Italy, which had its own highly developed cult of death.

Mihály, I must admit, is rather tiresome for most of the book, although we do have the pleasure of seeing him grow as a person. I myself quite liked Erzsi, who is undergoing her own erotic awakening throughout the book. The minor characters are also excellent. I adored both the English doctor and Millicent, the innocent American art student. Janos, the Hungarian con artist, is also an impressively vital character.

Definitely recommended for those interested in European literature and in compelling, twisty plots.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best Hungarian novel I have read 17 août 2010
Par R. M. Peterson - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
To acclaim a book as "the best Hungarian novel I have read" might seem like faint praise. Actually, between Sándor Márai and Gyula Krúdy, I have read in translation several quite good novels originally written in Hungarian. But JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT surpasses them. Written in 1937, it deserves to be included among the best European literature of the 1930s, perhaps even a much broader time frame.

JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is set in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that of the 19th Century. The novel begins with Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy. Mihály is not your typical protagonist. He is as much anti-hero as hero, more passive than assertive. He becomes obsessed with nostalgia for his past and paralyzed by fecklessness concerning his future and he abandons Erzsi to embark on a solo tour of Italy. The novel then traces the remainder of their "honeymoon" until each, by entirely separate paths that do however intersect once, returns to Budapest. During their journeys, each undergoes a number of psychological travails; each encounters other sexual temptations; and each is confronted several times with the choice between conformity to bourgeois values and release of himself/herself to the realm of desire. In addition, Mihály is continuously confronted with the choice between Eros and Thanatos. (For those so inclined, the novel contains abundant material suitable for psychoanalytical interpretation.)

What most distinguishes JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is its tone. The novel is light, playful, and ironic. Frequently Szerb's tongue is obviously planted firmly in cheek. The humor usually is under-stated, but it nonetheless elicited from me the occasional chuckle. Despite poking fun at his characters, Szerb at bottom is warm-hearted and good-natured. The fantastical and magical continuously asserts itself on the narrative, but never quite takes over. Sometimes it is shouldered aside by madcap farce and other times it relapses to a seemingly sober realism.

The novel is interlaced with Szerb's gently biting commentary on all sorts of European matters, especially Italian. (Szerb had had extended stays in England, France, and Italy.) For example, he observes of Mussolini's Fascist Italy that: "The Italian papers were always ecstatically happy, as if they were written not by humans but by saints in triumph, just stepped down from a Fra Angelico in order to celebrate the perfect social system. There was always some cause for happiness: some institution was eleven years old, a road had just turned twelve." But Szerb also, even-handedly, applies his trenchant eye to his own: After Milhály awakes from a drunken stupor in an Italian working-class home and neighborhood, "his hand unconsciously groped for his wallet. The wallet was there in its place, next to his heart, where the Middle-European, not entirely without a touch of symbolism, keeps his money."

Throughout, the novel keeps the reader off-balance. It is so playful that one is tempted to pigeonhole it as sheer entertainment, albeit quite charming and sophisticated entertainment. But I think beneath all the dazzle there are some serious themes or messages. In Rome, Mihály is shown some Etruscan drinking bowls, with the inscription (in Etruscan): "Enjoy the wine today, tomorrow there will be none." And Szerb's answer to the novel's (and the Middle European) preoccupation with suicide is that "while there is life there is always the chance that something might happen."

A paragraph about the author, with whom I was completely unfamiliar before this book caught my eye: Antal Szerb (1901 - 1945) was yet another victim of the Holocaust. He was born to assimilated Jewish parents but was baptized and raised in the Roman Catholic Church. He became a Professor of Literature and a highly regarded scholar of Western literature, and he wrote four novels in the last decade of his life. Despite opportunities to do so, Szerb refused to flee Hungary even after the Nazis occupied the country and ratcheted up their anti-Semitic demands on the Hungarian government. In late 1944 Szerb was sent to a forced-labor camp where, in January 1945, he was beaten to death. That story shares a few tragic features with the story of Bruno Schulz. I sense that the Nazi murder of Antal Szerb worked as grievous a loss on world literature as did the execution of Bruno Schulz.

Note: Amazon also carries another translation of the novel, under the title "The Traveler". There are over 270 reviews of "The Traveler", most of them by students at Florida International University where the translator of that rendition is on the faculty. I am in no position to compare the merits of the two translations, but I will say that the translation by Len Rix in JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is highly literate and fully engaging.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Is Daylight the Answer? 8 octobre 2015
Par Bruce Henricksen - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is a wonderful story of a man's search for himself, in this case a man who leaves his wife on their honeymoon to wander European nights haunted by the memory of a long-gone relationship. Is he an object of satire, or a representative of something universal in our condition? Is the darkness in here or out there? Szerb plays his cards close and well in this atmospheric tale.
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