Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The City of Earthly Desire, Francis Berger

Paperback, 546 pages
Published September 26th 2012 by CreateSpace (first published 2012)
1478387882 (ISBN13: 9781478387886)
edition language


A gripping story of ambition, lust, seduction, and betrayal. . .

After the communists destroy his dream of becoming a recognized painter, Reinhardt Drixler escapes Hungary and moves to America to further his artistic ambitions and provide a better future for his young family.

Twenty-five years later, his son Béla falls in love with Suzy Kiss, an alluring 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

My Review-

Art and love are similar. They are such that they instill a strange desire within you and that desire refuses to die down. Reinhardt Drixler is a devoted artist for whom art is a way of living. Settled in Hungary his life falls prey to communism and gradually the communists set out to destroy the only dream he has ever had. He, along with his family flees to America where things fall into place. His young family and him became stable after years of struggle. Over years, Reinhardt made his best efforts to pass on his knowledge of art along with other qualities to his son, Bela. With years, he grows up to become his father’s reflection, only younger. Twenty-five years later, Suzy Kiss comes by. Suzy Kiss is one hell of a gorgeous, alluring woman who made her living out of doing striptease. Bela being madly in love with the woman, her profession holds little importance for him. He accepts her with an open heart, only to be betrayed later for her love was shallow, only concerned with American citizenship. An unaware Bela went on entertaining his thoughts on the relationship, mistaking her lust to be love. Later, Suzy is mysteriously deported, which turns Bela’s world upside down. A heartbroken Bela, now needs to choose between staying back or moving back to where his roots are. He chooses the latter and down the line lays down a completely different climax to the story. In Budapest, he meets different kinds of people who influence his life and mould the story into something new.

The City Of Earthly Desire to be precise is fabulous. There is love, there is lust, there is betrayal and there is a socially and politically changing Hungary. The story necessarily represents two different generations of the same family and the effects of the scenario of the country now and then on      people and their lives.

The language is smooth and does not let me put it down even for a second. The plot is very well laid out and as smooth as the language. The emotions are simple, yet complex. There is a certain degree of uniqueness about the book in terms of the blend of the emotions. Berger is a narrator of a different kind. I have spent a lot of time trying to describe how I felt about his narration. Later I realized that describing his writing is like describing the taste of water and I gave up. The book perfectly blends with everyone’s taste no matter how you like your book to be.