This extraordinary magnum opus seems at first to be a confessional autobiographical novel in the grand manner, claiming and extending the lagacy of Proust and Mann. A BOOK OF MEMORIES is made up of three first-person narratives: the first that of a young Hungarian writer and his fated love for a German poet; we also learn of the narrator's adolescence in Budapest, when he experiences the downfall of his once upper-class but now pro-Communist family. A second memoir, alternating with the first, is a novel the narrator is composing about a refined Belle Epoque aesthete, whose anti-bourgeois transgressions seem like emotionally overcharged versions of the narrator's own experiences. A third voice is that of a childhood friend who, after the narrator's return to his homeland, offers an apparently more objective account of their friendship. Together these brilliantly coloured lives are inte-grated in a powerful work of tragic intensity.