There’s a reason why I don’t usually take recommendations. No one else knows my tastes in reading the way I do. Oh sure, they can see a title or a synopsis and think I’d find it interesting – and I might – but the writing style might ruin the entire experience.
Gregor von Rezzori’s writing style does not at all mesh with my reading. If I had known this last summer, I wouldn’t have allowed my friend to persuade me to buy the book. I picked it up at the same library sale as Golda Meir’s autobiography, but this is the very opposite in every conceivable way. The title is Memoirs of an Anti-Semite, and it is a floridly rambling piece of prose in which the author reflects back on many of the ways he’s screwed up his life.
I can’t even say for sure that it’s completely true, as there’s a bit in the fifth (and final) section that indicates that Rezzori is prone to incorporating what others have shared with him into his own memories. But it’s not an especially satisfying read. The boy grows into a man who becomes an old man, but does he actually learn anything? He’s certainly still an anti-Semite at the end, just as he was in the beginning. And it’s just as meaningless now (1979) as it was then (1930). His anti-Semitism is like Caucasian Americans looking down on Hispanics or Indians or any other minority. There’s no real justification for it; he was raised that way. And despite growing up with Jews all around him, and interacting with them in so many ways over the course of his life, he’s still an anti-Semite. It’s not even like he made a conscious decision to continue with this perception, he just doesn’t bother to correct it even though he’s shown repeatedly that Jews are people just like him.
That doesn’t even mention that at least two of the five stories are almost entirely about sex, the pursuit or lack thereof. Which is…really, truly not what I want out of a book.
I suppose you can say it’s better than The Wonder in that I don’t utterly despise it, but I am not keeping this book and I will never pick up something from this author again. Ugh, let’s go find something easy, familiar, and enjoyable in my library. Which, of course, makes things complicated since I just started reshelving things now that I have shelves. Pictures will come when I’m less pissed.