Anecdotage: A Summation

Gregor Von Rezzori, Author, Hregor Von Rezzori, Author, Gregor Von Rezzori, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-22295-6
The year 1990 was an eventful one for Rezzori. Diagnosed with a malignant growth but told he has a few more years to live, the eminent novelist (Orient Express), nearing 80, journeys to Bucharest as a prelude to revisiting his native region of Bukovina (once part of Austro-Hungary, today in Romania and Ukraine). Despite the assassination of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Rezzori finds that the privation, fear and oppression remain and advocates a return to monarchy as the only hope for guiding Romania toward a democratic future. He also visits Pondicherry, India, home of the Sri Aurobindo Society, which he dismisses as ``religious opportunism'' and a personality cult. Ransacking memories, he eerily contrasts the``spiritually sanitized'' Berlin of 1938 with the Cologne of 1990, where he attends a carnival characterized, he writes, by ``Individual fulfillment in the submission of thousands of ecstatically emptied-out souls.'' And he beautifully evokes Tuscany, his home base, where he and his wife live in a medieval house overlooking the Arno Valley. Rezzori casts a spell in an elegant, mordantly witty, dazzling memoir written in a freewheeling style that borders on free association. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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