A Memory of War (Paperback)

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Psychologist Alexander Lescziak savors a life of quiet sophistication on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, when a new patient declares he is the doctor’s half-brother, the product of a union between Lescziak’s Jewish mother and a German prisoner-of-war. Suddenly Lescziak finds his world closing in on him, as events acquire new significance: his failed marriage, his wife’s possible affair with his best friend, and the disappearance of his young lover, who also happens to be his suicidal patient. In search of answers, Lescziak delves into the recesses of his own mind, when the past threatens to press in inexorably upon the present.

Praise For…

“Powerful . . . Compelling . . . Hypnotic . . . A profound exploration of a man at war with himself.”
—The Boston Sunday Globe

“Exquisite prose, at once delicate and muscular. This deeply felt novel adroitly juxtaposes the intellectual, the emotional, and the sensual. Probing questions of who we are merge seamlessly with the tumult of emotional upheaval and the sensation of flesh caressing flesh.”
—Chicago Tribune

“Busch examines many facets of memory, guilt, love, forgiveness, denial, holding on, and letting go. In this way, he takes a narrowly focused narrative—one man’s worries, real and imaginary—and transforms it into a peek into the emotional legacy of the twentieth century.”
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Irresistible . . . A novel of startling psychological intensity that explores the rewriting of history, or the imagining of it. . . . It’s to Busch’s credit that he’s able to turn his kaleidoscope with such graceful, tantalizing precision; as Alex’s search for morsels of truth turns obsessive, Busch’s snapshots become addictive.”

“Beautiful, harrowing . . . In Busch’s skilled hands, past and present merge to become a sublimely haunting yet gorgeously uplifting account of one man’s need to bridge the great gulf dividing heart and mind, body and soul.”

Book magazine

“Busch is a mature, elegant writer who is particularly good at exposing the vulnerabilities of male-female relationships. . . . He’s also a master of narrative understatement. . . . [He] has an extraordinary ability to observe and describe the subtext of what goes on between friends, colleagues, and couples. He understands the way the human mind dips, dives, and makes astonishing associations, while on the outside people behave in familiar, even predictable ways.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

A Memory of War draws its power from its characters as the protagonist tries to solve the puzzle of who they really are and the reader in turn tries to puzzle him out as well. . . . It delivers for its readers a vividly imagined wartime story, in language alternately subtle and striking, romantic and real, and maps out a psychological landscape that is devastated in visible and invisible ways by a war fought almost half a century before.”
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Frederick Busch is, surely, America’s most courageous and most focused of writers. Intelligent, compassionate, and unflinchingly adult, his new novel, A Memory of War, is an outstanding audit of the emotional legacies that haunt and disfigure contemporary American life. Rarely has a writer put such muscular, rigorous prose to such tender use.”

“Frederick Busch moves deftly past the smoke and mirrors of wartime memory and troubled peacetime reconstructions to reveal a heartbreaking spiral of love and betrayal in two generations, one European, the other American. The writing here is beautiful, sometimes wickedly funny. Vivid as the characters of this novel are, it is history itself that is the captivating protagonist.”

—San Diego Reader

“I am, once again, delighted and amazed and, frankly, in awe of what Frederick Busch can do with the novel as an art form. A Memory of War is a brilliant and complex meditation. . . . It’s too easy to say ‘memory’ or ‘imagination’ or ‘guilt’ or ‘love.’ It’s about all those things, but it’s about much more. Perhaps the unnameable essence of existence. And, not incidentally, the novel is also an intensely compelling story. A Memory of War is a transcendently great book.”

“Masterful . . . The legacies of betrayal, illicit love, guilt, and loss haunt the protagonist of Busch’s powerful new novel, a meditation on the long reach of history, and its aftermath of alienated souls. . . . [Busch] explores the human condition with precision and compassion.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Busch, a versatile writer of consummate skill, dramatizes the unexpected legacies of war and complex questions of power and duty. . . . [His] ravishing, near-thriller novel, one that should earn him the larger readership he so richly deserves, places the most private of emotions within the context of a cruel and chaotic world, and reveals the oceanic depths of our capacity and penchant for both pain and pleasure.”
Booklist (boxed and starred review)

“Unforgettable . . . Powerfully developed . . . In a seamless fusion of scene, dialogue, and reminiscence, Busch draws us into [a] turbulent psyche.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“For all who care to linger, the pleasures of the written word are on ample display in Frederick Busch’s new novel. . . . The reward comes [from] prose that shimmers and a sensibility that respects the difficulty of devising a happy, sustainable life—in or out of wartime.”

—Entertainment Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780345460516
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 16th, 2004
Pages: 368