Memento Park
A son learns more about his father than he ever could have imagined when a mysterious piece of art is unexpectedly restored to himAfter receiving an unexpected call from the Australian consulate, Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting that he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during the Second World War. To recover the painting, he must repair his strained relationship with his harshly judgmental father, uncover his family history, and restore his connection to his own Judaism. Along the way to illuminating the mysteries of his past, Matt is torn between his doting girlfriend, Tracy, and his alluring attorney, Rachel, with whom he travels to Budapest to unearth the truth about the painting and, in turn, his family.As his journey progresses, Matt's revelations are accompanied by equally consuming and imaginative meditations on the painting and the painter at the center of his personal drama, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kalman. By the time Memento Park reaches its conclusion, Matt's narrative is as much about family history and father-son dynamics as it is about the nature of art itself, and the infinite ways we come to understand ourselves through it.Of all the questions asked by Mark Sarvas's Memento Park--about family and identity, about art and history--a central, unanswerable predicament lingers: How do we move forward when the past looms unreasonably large?

Memento Park Details

TitleMemento Park
Author
ReleaseMar 13th, 2018
PublisherFarrar Straus and Giroux
ISBN-139780374206376
Rating
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, World War II, Holocaust, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Art, Art History

Memento Park Review

  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Memento Park is a story of restitution, of a man seeking to recover a painting he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during World War II. This art themed novel revolves around "Budapest Street Scene" painted by Hungarian Ervin Laszlo Kalman, history and relationships - between father and son, between client and lawyer, between Matt and his girlfriend Tracy and more. Memento Park takes on questions of authenticity and identity. This novel is full of painting references, some authentic Memento Park is a story of restitution, of a man seeking to recover a painting he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during World War II. This art themed novel revolves around "Budapest Street Scene" painted by Hungarian Ervin Laszlo Kalman, history and relationships - between father and son, between client and lawyer, between Matt and his girlfriend Tracy and more. Memento Park takes on questions of authenticity and identity. This novel is full of painting references, some authentic and some fiction. The painting "Budapest Street Scene" seemed so real that I 'googled' it and the artist Kalman and discovered that both were creations of the vivid imagination of the author, Mark Sarvas. I was intrigued by Matt and Rachel's visit to Hungary and the description of places and his Hungarian relatives. Memento Park, Hungarian National Gallery, Dohany Street Synagogue, Heroes' Square, Kozma Street Cemetery and the memorial Shoes on the Danube Bank were unknown to me. Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and second largest in the world. I recommend this novel to anyone who would appreciate the many painting references, literary writing, history and the complications of love and family. Thanks to the author Mark Sarvas, publishers Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of MEMENTO PARK in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kati Berman
    January 1, 1970
    There were many reasons I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was born and raised in Hungary, I am Jewish and my family lost many members during the Holocaust. I grew up in communist Hungary and left for America way before the fall of communism. I have been back a few times after the fall, I have been to Memento Park, the title of this novel and I have seen the shoe memorial at the shore of the Danube. So, this book was very special for me for all the above rea There were many reasons I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was born and raised in Hungary, I am Jewish and my family lost many members during the Holocaust. I grew up in communist Hungary and left for America way before the fall of communism. I have been back a few times after the fall, I have been to Memento Park, the title of this novel and I have seen the shoe memorial at the shore of the Danube. So, this book was very special for me for all the above reasons. With all that said, I liked the book, but didn’t love it. Matt, (Mátyás in Hungarian) is born in the United States to Holocaust survivors, who left communist Hungary in 1956 during the student uprising against communism. His parents (now divorced) didn’t talk about the war years or their Judaism, Matt grew up in a secular household, much like I and many children of Holocaust survivors did. When Matt gets a call about a painting that surfaced after many years and might have belonged to his family, his life changes. He tries to understand the story of the painting, the Jewish artist that painted it and his relationship with his father, his fiancée and his lawyer. He travels back to Budapest to meet with family members who might have known about his family owning the painting. While I loved the story itself, I found the narrative often confusing, Matt seemed to have been talking to a security guard at an auction house where the painting was put up but other times he was speaking to Rachel, his lawyer. Sometimes the timeline was mixed up also, in one chapter he is already in Budapest, in a later chapter he is still getting ready to go. The scene at the Danube shoe memorial unfortunately was very realistic, as Hungary today is one of the most anti Semitic country in the world. Overall I give this book 4 stars. Thanks NetGalley, the publisher and the author for this advanced copy and for the opportunity to revisit my native country and my own family history.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    This story morphs and disguises throughout, an occasional love story, a story of faith, the complications of a father son relationship, and the recently rediscovered painting "Budapest street scene" which has it own story. There were moments of sheer brilliance, I really enjoyed the moments when Mark directly addresses Virgil, a security guard at the auctioneers house, and the device the author uses to feel we are being directly communicated to as the readers in this master class of the slow rev This story morphs and disguises throughout, an occasional love story, a story of faith, the complications of a father son relationship, and the recently rediscovered painting "Budapest street scene" which has it own story. There were moments of sheer brilliance, I really enjoyed the moments when Mark directly addresses Virgil, a security guard at the auctioneers house, and the device the author uses to feel we are being directly communicated to as the readers in this master class of the slow reveal.I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in more literary writing, art, history, and the complications of love and family.Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this arc available through netgalley.
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  • Caeli Widger
    January 1, 1970
    This book shines on every level: sentence after sentence is beautiful and precise, the characters are complicated and sympathetic, the ideas are sweeping and profound but never bear down too overtly on the reader. It's a rare novel that is as accomplished in its "meaning" as it is in its pure, old-fashioned storytelling while ALSO succeeding wildly at the language level...but MEMENTO PARK does it all. It's about history, about the lies we inhabit in order to live, the cruelty of the past, the un This book shines on every level: sentence after sentence is beautiful and precise, the characters are complicated and sympathetic, the ideas are sweeping and profound but never bear down too overtly on the reader. It's a rare novel that is as accomplished in its "meaning" as it is in its pure, old-fashioned storytelling while ALSO succeeding wildly at the language level...but MEMENTO PARK does it all. It's about history, about the lies we inhabit in order to live, the cruelty of the past, the uncertainty of the present, the complexity of marriage, the chains of family...it's a Big Book, yet it never overwhelms the reader, but invites her in. A novel to lose yourself in and then reflect upon again and again.
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  • Judy Churchill
    January 1, 1970
    Let me first say this is not a book I would have chosen to read but I ended up LOVING it. It is about a man’s earnest look at his Jewish roots, his relationship with his father, and his own claim to adulthood and meaning. The novel’s first person style is enchanting. It is altogether a worthwhile story and a must read.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Each book we read takes us on a different journey--and, this will be a trip I remember for a long, long time. Mark Sarvas' novel was both troubling and compelling and I found myself reading it very quickly because I needed (not wanted, but truly needed) to know its outcome. BUT, when I finished reading the contemplation began.This is a book to savor---maybe in its aftermath, like I am doing., or perhaps as you are reading it. The relationships between the protagonist and his family, his friends, Each book we read takes us on a different journey--and, this will be a trip I remember for a long, long time. Mark Sarvas' novel was both troubling and compelling and I found myself reading it very quickly because I needed (not wanted, but truly needed) to know its outcome. BUT, when I finished reading the contemplation began.This is a book to savor---maybe in its aftermath, like I am doing., or perhaps as you are reading it. The relationships between the protagonist and his family, his friends, his colleagues, are all less than we want to experience in a hero. But, he questions. And, he seeks. And, he changes. Perhaps he grows. . . . .I was uncomfortable with many aspects of the book--particularly the main character's relationships with his father and his fiance, but as he worked through his questions, it raised questions for me as a reader and created a valuable literary experience for me.It would be a stretch to say I enjoyed the book, but I valued it tremendously. Everything we encounter in life can't be easy, or accept a "simple fix"---- this complex story took me on an interesting journey and I appreciated the ride.Netgalley provided me an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    A single Jewish man, Matt Santos, an actor in LA, is torn between a blond gentile swimsuit model and a wavy-haired devout Jewish attorney. (Is that a dated, or classic, conflict for a Jewish male protagonist?) Also, he may be able to sell for millions a painting (by an invented artist) stolen by Nazis, which has fallen into his life, if he can show it once belonged to his family. And his distant, gambling, volatile dad has a random hobby of trading toy cars. The actor tells his story all night, A single Jewish man, Matt Santos, an actor in LA, is torn between a blond gentile swimsuit model and a wavy-haired devout Jewish attorney. (Is that a dated, or classic, conflict for a Jewish male protagonist?) Also, he may be able to sell for millions a painting (by an invented artist) stolen by Nazis, which has fallen into his life, if he can show it once belonged to his family. And his distant, gambling, volatile dad has a random hobby of trading toy cars. The actor tells his story all night, in his mind, to a security guard before the painting's auction, and then the story catches up with the auction itself. Sentences are carefully crafted and a pleasure to read. There's wisdom: "Do not make the mistake of assuming that because you know what someone will do, that you know who they are." There's appreciation of the LA life: "I never lose the quiet thrill I feel exiting the McClure Tunnel at the end of the Santa Monica Freeway to find the Pacific Coast Highway unfurling before me." There are interesting interior thoughts and doubts.The mystery of the ownership of the painting is solved when a box containing the answer is delivered as unexpectedly as the original phone call early in the novel letting Matt know that he might be the heir to the painting. And Matt finds out his father wasn't so bad.The novel is brief and briskly paced. Big issues like the Holocaust/reparations, secular/religious life, fathers/sons, east/west coast, reality/fiction, ethnicity/assimilation are considered. The ending brings resolution and maybe some character growth for Matt--he looks at life more deeply; the mood is hopeful.There are endnotes, somewhat unusual for a novel, including a citation to a nonfiction book that portrays the real-life inspiration for this novel, Ann-Marie O'Connor's The Lady in Gold (2012), which tells of the Klimt paintings stolen by Nazis and returned a decade ago by the Austrian government, with the repatriated works exhibited in Los Angeles in 2006 and now hanging at the Neue Galerie in New York.
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  • Zachary Houle
    January 1, 1970
    As a book blogger, sometimes you take chances on seemingly unknown authors and their works with the hopes that you might be blown away. Well, I took a chance on Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park and I’m elated that I did. This compact yet dense novel is about memory, religion, family, relationships, betrayal, art and so much more — but is immensely readable and relatable. Focusing on a modern-day C-list Hollywood actor named Matthew Santos (note that he shares the same initials as the author, so you can As a book blogger, sometimes you take chances on seemingly unknown authors and their works with the hopes that you might be blown away. Well, I took a chance on Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park and I’m elated that I did. This compact yet dense novel is about memory, religion, family, relationships, betrayal, art and so much more — but is immensely readable and relatable. Focusing on a modern-day C-list Hollywood actor named Matthew Santos (note that he shares the same initials as the author, so you can draw your own conclusions), Memento Park sees him acquire a valuable painting from a Jewish artist who committed suicide during World War II in Hungary. The painting’s worth a cool couple of millions of dollars, and Santos has acquired it because it apparently belonged to his family before being spirited away by anti-Semitic sympathizers prior to the family’s arrival in America. Oh, and the painting would have belonged to his father, but he doesn’t want it. So sets forth a mystery as to what Santos doesn’t know about his dad — a man he’s been at odds with for several years — and all the hidden things he harbours.The novel is told almost entirely in flashback as Santos riffles through his memories while waiting for the painting to hit the auction block, or, more accurately, the night before it is about to be sold. Through this process, the character comes to understand the secrets that others withhold from us — or secrets that might be a product of our own imagining. The story offers a bit of a love triangle, as Santos is living with a model named Tracy, but also has designs on the lawyer handling getting the painting back into his hands, Rachel. However, the core of the novel is the binds of family — how sons and fathers bond or don’t bond over shared interests.Read the rest here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    While this did not resonate with me the way I suspect it will with others, it's a well written novel of a man coming to terms with his own family history and with his father. Matt's world changes when he is contacted about a painting taken from his family during the Holocaust and travels to Hungary. The novel is framed in terms of Matt's rumination about the painting and life. It is indeed a book of self discovery and has some good points to make. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully written novel that offers a new take on the issue of art looted from Jewish families during WWII. Matt is set on the path of proving provenance of a painting found in Australia that is believed to have belonged to his family before the war. Matt's a working actor, pretty scattered about his career, his father, Judaism, and his relationships with others in general. He's not sure he cares about this painting for anything but the money. He makes a halfhearted attempt to confir This is a wonderfully written novel that offers a new take on the issue of art looted from Jewish families during WWII. Matt is set on the path of proving provenance of a painting found in Australia that is believed to have belonged to his family before the war. Matt's a working actor, pretty scattered about his career, his father, Judaism, and his relationships with others in general. He's not sure he cares about this painting for anything but the money. He makes a halfhearted attempt to confirm ownership to start with, but he becomes more engaged as he learns more about that past that made his father so harsh to him. This novel is more about Matt's journey of discovery than it is about the art. There's a surprise at the end. Thoughtful and meaningful, and a good read as well.
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  • Jennifer Carson
    January 1, 1970
    I got an advanced copy of Memento Park and LOVED IT. The writing is exquisite -- elegant, restrained, and powerful, and the novel's secrets are so skillfully and satisfyingly revealed. I was deeply moved, especially by the ending, which was beautifully executed. Matt (the main character) is a complicated, believable, messy person, and the female characters are similarly well-drawn. I fell into this remarkable book. Read it!
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/Mark Santos, born Mathias Santos, is a successful character actor living in Los Angeles with his fiance, Tracy, who is a sought-after catalog model. Mark and Tracy's careers aren't unusual for people who live in L.A., the hub of the entertainment industry in the USA. Mark Sarvas's new novel, MEMENTO PARK, is a vibrant rendition of a family who fled Hungary just as Hitler was about to overtake the country. The storyteller is Mark, the son of Gabor Szántós who https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/Mark Santos, born Mathias Santos, is a successful character actor living in Los Angeles with his fiance, Tracy, who is a sought-after catalog model. Mark and Tracy's careers aren't unusual for people who live in L.A., the hub of the entertainment industry in the USA. Mark Sarvas's new novel, MEMENTO PARK, is a vibrant rendition of a family who fled Hungary just as Hitler was about to overtake the country. The storyteller is Mark, the son of Gabor Szántós who was a boy when he arrived in the USA. Much of the book is about Matt's struggle with his father. He loved him, and he hated him. It could be anyone's story, and that in itself makes the book quite a fascinating read. Mark ruminates over his life story during one night as he sits with a precious work of art, "Budapest Street Scene," in an auction house. He is alone except for the guard, and the painting that has come into his possession through the efforts of restoring stolen articles from the Jewish population by Hitler's regime. Mark received a call from the Australian Embassy informing him that they were in possession of the painting and would be shipping it to him as his father told them he wasn't interested in having it.Mark has puzzled over his father nearly all his life. He wants his approval, but it is always just out of his reach. If he gets a choice part he auditioned for; his father only wants to know, "how much?" It seems that the only part of Mark's life that his father approves of is his fiance, Tracy. Mark has a similar relationship with his mother who divorced his father five years ago. She lives in Paris and is thoroughly enjoying her freedom from family life. She has let go, and Mark can't count on her for any family history. He wants to know more about this painting that belonged to his family. He wants to know more about his family history, and this is where we delve into the meat of the story. Mark begins with his acquaintance of a lawyer named Rachel to look into his Jewish background, another aspect of his father's life that is a black hole of mystery with vague answers at each turn.Mark's story reveals itself in slow, precise vignettes of memory that come together with his trip to Budapest and to New York where his father still lives. The story could be heartbreaking, but Mark Sarvas has fine-tuned his novel into a universal story of human history and a personal family history that is perfect in its presentation. Everyone will find something to ponder and appreciate in this brilliant new novel.Thank you to the publisher through NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC and offer a response.The publish date for MEMENTO PARK is March 13, 2018.
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  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Santos is standing in an auction hall, looking at a picture, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán. It will be sold the next day and he is ruminating about how this picture came to let him know more about his family than he ever did before and how it changed his life completely. His father had warned him about it, told him to let go, not to pursue the case any further, but he wouldn’t listen. So he is standing there on his own, alone, with his thoughts about his ex-girl-friend Tracy, whom h Matt Santos is standing in an auction hall, looking at a picture, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán. It will be sold the next day and he is ruminating about how this picture came to let him know more about his family than he ever did before and how it changed his life completely. His father had warned him about it, told him to let go, not to pursue the case any further, but he wouldn’t listen. So he is standing there on his own, alone, with his thoughts about his ex-girl-friend Tracy, whom he still loves, his lawyer Rachel, who helped him to get hold of the picture, and about his now deceased father. Memento Park is not easy to summarise. It’s a novel about art, Jewish art in Nazi Europe; it’s about a complicated father-son relationship; it’s a story about people leaving their past behind and burying it down in the back of their minds after emigration; it’s about love and trust, and about religion and the faith you have and to what extent this creates your identity.Matt is the child of Jewish family who suffered in Budapest under the Nazis, yet he doesn’t know anything about it. Even though he was never told anything about his family’s history, it lives on in him and through the relationship with his father. A father who does not seem to be loving or at least a bit affectionate. He is always distant and until the very end, Matt doesn’t understand why and he never asked. To me, this is the central aspect of the novel, even though I found the Kálmán story, his life and word, even though completely fictional but close to the stories of some artists of that time, also interesting. Mark Sarvas chose an interesting title for his novel, “Memento Park” is the name of a location in Budapest where all the statues of former communist grandees are exhibited. It’s a way of dealing with the past, neither hiding nor ignoring it, but giving it a place where you can confront it; it’s just a part of life and it helped to shape – here to town and country – but also you as a person. In this way, there are more layers to the novel which make it a great reading experience.
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  • Vickie
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Santos, a non practicing Jew and minor character actor in LA engaged to a model, is contacted by the Australian consulate because he might be the rightful owner of a painting that may have been stolen from his family in Budapest during World War II. Inexplicably, his father, with whom he has never had a loving relationship, will not discuss the painting or the family’s rightful ownership. With the assistance of an attorney, the devout Rachel, Matt travels to Hungary to seek evidence of his Matt Santos, a non practicing Jew and minor character actor in LA engaged to a model, is contacted by the Australian consulate because he might be the rightful owner of a painting that may have been stolen from his family in Budapest during World War II. Inexplicably, his father, with whom he has never had a loving relationship, will not discuss the painting or the family’s rightful ownership. With the assistance of an attorney, the devout Rachel, Matt travels to Hungary to seek evidence of his ownership. This is most of all a novel of discovery…discovery of art, heritage, and, perhaps, faith. Well written with a solid storyline and good character development, this is a book of great depth, yet a quick moving, compelling read.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a surprise on so many levels. It takes not only the characters on a journey-but you yourself. There is the main plot-an issue about art restitution. And there are subplots-the main character and the relationship with his father. And then his relationship with everyone else. The main plot keeps the book moving at a good pace. The subplots hit you in the gut when you least expect it. I lost my Dad 8 years ago and it was amazing how one or two things the author wrote started me thinki This book was a surprise on so many levels. It takes not only the characters on a journey-but you yourself. There is the main plot-an issue about art restitution. And there are subplots-the main character and the relationship with his father. And then his relationship with everyone else. The main plot keeps the book moving at a good pace. The subplots hit you in the gut when you least expect it. I lost my Dad 8 years ago and it was amazing how one or two things the author wrote started me thinking about questions about my Dad's history and life "before kids." The prose is also magical. So many sentences stay with me after the book-----the broken mailbox doors like jagged teeth---what a visual right? I just loved this book!
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  • Melissa Dee
    January 1, 1970
    There is a lot going on in this relatively slim book. The main character is involved in a quest to gain ownership of a holocaust era painting that may (or may not) have belonged to his family. The quest, of course, is much more complex than that, involving his search for belonging, for membership in a larger group, and even a search for identity. His closest relationships are complicated and yet somehow superficial. I found it interesting that each of those relationships can be symbolized by art There is a lot going on in this relatively slim book. The main character is involved in a quest to gain ownership of a holocaust era painting that may (or may not) have belonged to his family. The quest, of course, is much more complex than that, involving his search for belonging, for membership in a larger group, and even a search for identity. His closest relationships are complicated and yet somehow superficial. I found it interesting that each of those relationships can be symbolized by artifacts, whose symbolism I’m still working out.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I loved this book. I loved the beautiful writing, the very real characters flaws in all, and the story itself and the intriguing way it unfolded. The story focuses on a sons attempt to reclaim a painting seized by the Nazis but delves deep into the troubled relationship between a son and his father and opposing views about discussing and remembering the past. It deals with the expectations of ones parents and the wounds of unfu I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I loved this book. I loved the beautiful writing, the very real characters flaws in all, and the story itself and the intriguing way it unfolded. The story focuses on a sons attempt to reclaim a painting seized by the Nazis but delves deep into the troubled relationship between a son and his father and opposing views about discussing and remembering the past. It deals with the expectations of ones parents and the wounds of unfulfilling them.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I was so impressed with this book. it was a Holocaust story, but not. it was a story about art restitution, but not. The characters were flawed, but likeable. The relationships were complex and complicated. The author's writing style was descriptive and drew me in.except for the moment my hot cup exploded, I loved this book.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I am a Hungarian Jew. Matt’s journey is my journey. Can I write a review of this book, which I found so deeply moving that is not colored by my own experiences? I doubt it. So, with that being said, I was extremely taken with Matt’s trip to his family roots in Hungary. Sarvas has written a beautiful novel about self-discovery by dealing with family history. The catalyst for his journey was the attempt to discover the true owner of a valuable painting done by a Hungarian artist, and stolen by a N I am a Hungarian Jew. Matt’s journey is my journey. Can I write a review of this book, which I found so deeply moving that is not colored by my own experiences? I doubt it. So, with that being said, I was extremely taken with Matt’s trip to his family roots in Hungary. Sarvas has written a beautiful novel about self-discovery by dealing with family history. The catalyst for his journey was the attempt to discover the true owner of a valuable painting done by a Hungarian artist, and stolen by a Nazi. During the legal battle to prove his family ownership, the reader is given a view into the pained realationship between Matt and his father. His happy California existence is tested and his relationship with his All-American fiancée Tracy is sacrificed. The reader sees a renaissance of Matt’s soul as he comes to terms with his Judaism. Running through this novel is the relationship between Matt and his lawyer Rachel, who represents his heritage and maybe his future. I was especially moved by his visit to the monument in Budapest, composed of the shoes of those murdered during the Holocaust. The author managed to make this moment sadly relevant to the world today. This book is quite an accomplishment, combining beautiful writing with history and soul-searching. I really feel honored that I was allowed to review this exquisite novel.
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  • Marni Switzer
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book because the main character was likeable despite his flaws, the story was engaging, and despite the foreshadowing I didn’t see the ending coming. A great read.
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    A very quick read for me. I liked the fact that the book delved into the complex relationship between Matt and his father.
  • Lola Et La Vie
    January 1, 1970
    In this novel Matt Santos receives a message that a painting is being restored to him. He never knew anything this painting’s existence, but delves into the its past and therefore into his family’s.I was really looking forward to reading Memento Park. I love art and a good family mystery, but unfortunately this one fell a bit flat for me.Memento Park is mainly about relationships, mainly the father-son relationship, but also about family and romantic relationships. Apart from that, it is also ab In this novel Matt Santos receives a message that a painting is being restored to him. He never knew anything this painting’s existence, but delves into the its past and therefore into his family’s.I was really looking forward to reading Memento Park. I love art and a good family mystery, but unfortunately this one fell a bit flat for me.Memento Park is mainly about relationships, mainly the father-son relationship, but also about family and romantic relationships. Apart from that, it is also about letting go of the past and being at peace with it.The narrative is sometimes aimed at one person,then at another. For a large part Matt is relating his story to a security guard at the auction house where the painting is selling. Sometimes it is aimed at Rachel, the art lawyer or his father. It certainly is a different way of telling a story and I did not mind it, but I am not sure it helped the plot much.When I finished the book, I just felt a bit deflated. I like it, but I had just expected a more emotional ride. I simply did not feel as invested as I feel I should have.
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for digital ARC.I give the story 4 stars but the way it was told 3 for an overall 3.5. I loved the story. It’s about fathers and sons, our faith and religion, Judaism and survivorship, and art. But the story telling was a little confusing to me as it appears he was addressing his thoughts at times to a security guard, to his lawyer, to his girlfriend and other characters. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were real conversations or most likely his thoughts. I felt so much for Thank you NetGalley for digital ARC.I give the story 4 stars but the way it was told 3 for an overall 3.5. I loved the story. It’s about fathers and sons, our faith and religion, Judaism and survivorship, and art. But the story telling was a little confusing to me as it appears he was addressing his thoughts at times to a security guard, to his lawyer, to his girlfriend and other characters. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were real conversations or most likely his thoughts. I felt so much for what this character was going through but the way he told the story was distracting for me. It was a confusing story telling device for me. I was also challenged sometimes by the changes in time setting — present to past weren’t always clear. The timing jumps around. But as said, the story itself was special.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Santos has had the misfortune of completely misunderstanding his father. He thought he knew enough about Gabor Szántós’ life in Hungary during the war and after to explain his gruffness, his obsession with toy cars, and his reluctance to talk about the past. But after Matt learns that a rare painting might have been stolen from the family in 1944 at the beginning of Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park, he finally starts to see how little he really knew...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. Matt Santos has had the misfortune of completely misunderstanding his father. He thought he knew enough about Gabor Szántós’ life in Hungary during the war and after to explain his gruffness, his obsession with toy cars, and his reluctance to talk about the past. But after Matt learns that a rare painting might have been stolen from the family in 1944 at the beginning of Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park, he finally starts to see how little he really knew...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    The description of this book made me very excited to read it and I did enjoy parts of this book. I was intrigued by the story but I found the storytelling device to be frustrating. For me, having the almost the entire story told as a series of reflections occurring over the course of one evening detracted from the book. I found myself frustrated by the narrator's internal monologue with the security guard. I felt like I was being pulled out of a story that I was fully immersed in and having to g The description of this book made me very excited to read it and I did enjoy parts of this book. I was intrigued by the story but I found the storytelling device to be frustrating. For me, having the almost the entire story told as a series of reflections occurring over the course of one evening detracted from the book. I found myself frustrated by the narrator's internal monologue with the security guard. I felt like I was being pulled out of a story that I was fully immersed in and having to get re-engaged all the time. My frustration could definitely have been influenced by my mood at the time I read it so please give it a try if it sounds interesting to you! Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the ARC!
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