MEMOIRS OF AN ANTI-SEMITE by Gregor von Rezzori
A European classic - set in Rumania, Austria, Germany and Italy between the last century's world wars, this is a novel of great beauty about men and the histories that define them.
Our hero tells of his childhood: his passion for hunting, his love of the wild landscape of Rumania, his ridiculous social snobbery. He leads us through his youth, and between fantastic and colourful stories of Bucharest in the late twenties and early thirties, he dissects his own complicated, at times agonizing, development as a moral creature. We are with him as the Nazis take over Austria; as his own anti-semitism - already such a mixture of belief, caprice and compromise - is shaken to its core. And later on we meet him as a much older man, one haunted by his own protean character, by the beautiful but tragic web of memories and events that together form history, and by the greatest love of his life, a beautiful Jewess.
'Here is a work that tackles - without reproof, without illusions, and without shallow moral judgements; by turns engaged and detached, funny and sad, tender and heartless - the phenomenon of anti-Semitism . . . the tragedy that changed the face of Europe and the world' Bruce Chatwin