The Afterlife of Stars

The Afterlife of Stars

eBook - 2017
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Grand Central Pub
"Devastating yet unnervingly funny.... inspired and deeply affecting....a story for the ages." --Julie Orringer, New York Times Book Review

"The Afterlife of Stars moved me more than any other novel I've read in recent memory." --Tim O'Brien

New York Times Book Review: Editors' Choice
"10 New Books We Recommend This Week" --New York Times Book Review

A Brother's Love is Forever

As Russian tanks roll through the cobblestone streets of Budapest and shots ring out, young Robert and Attila Beck, inseparable brothers, peer from the boot of a toppled statue of Stalin at the first grisly signs of revolution. The year is 1956. That October day, Russian soldiers will storm their family home, prompting the boys' hurried escape from the city with their parents, grandmother, and two cousins. Not all will survive. Their immediate destination is Paris, and the town house of Hermina, their great-aunt, once a renowned opera singer, now a recluse who wears long gloves to preserve her dignity against a past scarred by an unspeakable violence.

Along the way, these two brothers encounter mysterious fellow travelers, witness the bewildering sights of a nation in transition, and grapple with rivalry and loss, while never losing their capacity for joy or their appreciation of humor, and each other, as they stare down the unaccountable and the absurd. Robert, the younger, idolizes the fiery Attila, whose growing edge of anger and rebellion threatens to endanger them both. As exiles in Paris, they seek adventure and whatever semblance of home they might find, from the unfamiliar streets to the labyrinthine sewers beneath. When the duo uncovers a long-held family secret involving a double agent and a daring Holocaust rescue, this novel hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion. A fleeting decision by Attila has consequences that will last a lifetime, and the bond that has proved unbreakable may be the brothers' undoing.

With dazzling storytelling and a firm belief in the power of humor in the face of turmoil, Joseph Kertes has crafted a fierce saga of identity and love that resonates through its final page. The Afterlife of Stars is not only a stirring account of one displaced family's possibilities for salvation, but also an extraordinary tale of the singular and enduring ties of brotherhood.


Baker & Taylor
Fleeing the Russian military at the height of the Hungarian Revolution, brothers Robert and Attila Beck grapple with incalculable losses while encountering mysterious fellow travelers in real and imagined journeys from a Parisian family townhouse. By the award-winning author of Gratitude.

Publisher: Little Brown & Co.,, 2017
ISBN: 9780316269605
0316269603
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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gvlee
Sep 03, 2018

A novel set in 1956, when the Russians move in to suppress the Hungarian revolution, is told ostensibly in the voice of a 9.8 year old boy whose family must flee Hungary to relative safety in Paris, where is great aunt lives. Much of the book is spent in meandering philosophising. Along the way, the reader learns of atrocities that were endured by the boy's family, who are Jewish, during WW II. In the end, the boy's older brother dies in Paris' sewer underground, likely killed by thugs. It is a seemingly random, pointless death. The ending points to the family's eventual immigration to Canada. I finished this book because the subject deserves much respect. If you like a lot of tangential discussion and speculation about philosophy, this is the book for you.

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rileykernaghan
May 27, 2017

A moving read, but I found it far too short. The innocence of the narrator tugs at your heart strings as he encounters death and a family secret while fleeing the Hungarian Revolution.

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Liber_vermis
Dec 14, 2014

"... I was inspired to write a novel about my family's escape from Hungary when I was not yet five. I had vivid and traumatic memories of seeing Hungarian soldiers hanging from lampposts ... and of running by night across a minefield to freedom in Austria. In my novel, I doubled the age of the two brothers so that they could make more sense of the world ..., more sense of displacement, of leaving a life behind, and then something magical happened. ... the book took a surprising turn, one I hadn't anticipated, it surprised me most. [Writing this book] was a transcendental experience." The author interviewed in "The Book Report" of 'The Globe & Mail' newspaper of December 13, 2014.

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