A son learns more about his father than he ever could have imagined when a mysterious piece of art is unexpectedly restored to him
After receiving an unexpected call from the Australian consulate, Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting that he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during the Second World War. To recover the painting, he must repair his strained relationship with his harshly judgmental father, uncover his family history, and restore his connection to his own Judaism. Along the way to illuminating the mysteries of his past, Matt is torn between his doting girlfriend, Tracy, and his alluring attorney, Rachel, with whom he travels to Budapest to unearth the truth about the painting and, in turn, his family.
As his journey progresses, Matt’s revelations are accompanied by equally consuming and imaginative meditations on the painting and the painter at the center of his personal drama, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán. By the time Memento Park reaches its conclusion, Matt’s narrative is as much about family history and father-son dynamics as it is about the nature of art itself, and the infinite ways we come to understand ourselves through it.
Of all the questions asked by Mark Sarvas’s Memento Park—about family and identity, about art and history—a central, unanswerable predicament lingers: How do we move forward when the past looms unreasonably large?
Read an excerpt.
Mark Sarvas began his literary career as the host of his influential literary blog The Elegant Variation. His debut novel, Harry, Revised, was published in 2008 by Bloomsbury and later in more than a dozen countries around the world, and was a finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s 2008 Fiction Award and a Denver Post 2008 Good Read. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Huffington Post, The Barnes & Noble Review, The Modern Word, and the Los Angeles Review of Books (where he is a contributing editor). He lives in Los Angeles.