Book Read: A Memory of War by Frederick Busch
February 14, 2016 Leave a comment
My tenth book of the year. Although maybe I should say, 9.5th book, because I didn’t finish it. I tried for a long time and got to about halfway, but it couldn’t hold my interest.
The book is about a psychologist and his clients. Most of the book (at least what I read of it) takes place in his office, where the psychologist receives his clients. While these clients are talking, the psychologist often thinks about completely different things, for instance, looking back on past events. This was confusing, especially in the beginning, when it often wasn’t clear whether what was happening was a real-time or remembered event.
What was mysterious and somewhat interesting, was a client who claimed to be his half-brother. The psychologist only half believes him but keeps treating him as a client, and therefore does not make any attempts to find out more about this alleged brother and whether his claims are correct. That was weird. I did want to read on to find out whether this was really his brother, but didn’t find the other story lines interesting enough to keep going.
Well written, very introspective, a bit weird and confusing. I may try another of Busch’s books at some point, but this one didn’t keep my interest.
Goodreads description: “Psychologist Alexander Lescziak savors a life of quiet sophistication on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, turning a blind eye to the past of his Polish émigré parents. Then a new patient declares that he is the doctor’s half-brother, the product of a union between Lescziak’s Jewish mother and a German prisoner of war. The confrontation jolts Lescziak out of his complacency: suddenly, his failing marriage, his wife’s infatuation with his best friend, and the disappearance of his young lover and suicidal patient, Nella, close in on him. Lescziak escapes into the recesses of his imagination, where his mother’s affair with the German prisoner comes to life in precise, gorgeous detail. The novel unfolds into a romance set in England’s Lake District in wartime, as Busch shows how our past presses on the present.”