Memento Park by Mark Sarvas

Memento Park

A son learns more about his father than he ever could have imagined when a mysterious piece of art is unexpectedly restored to himAfter 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, ...

Details Memento Park

TitleMemento Park
Release DateMar 13th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, World War II, Holocaust, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Art, Art History

Reviews Memento Park

  • Kathleen
    Memento Park is a story of restitution, of a man seeking to recover a painting he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during World War II. This art themed novel revolves around "Budapest Street Scene" painted by Hungarian Ervin Laszlo Kalman, history and relationships - between father and son, between client and lawyer, between Matt and his girlfriend Tracy and more. Memento Park takes on questions of authenticity and identity. This no...
  • Kati Berman
    There were many reasons I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was born and raised in Hungary, I am Jewish and my family lost many members during the Holocaust. I grew up in communist Hungary and left for America way before the fall of communism. I have been back a few times after the fall, I have been to Memento Park, the title of this novel and I have seen the shoe memorial at the shore of the Danube. So, this ...
  • Dave
    This story morphs and disguises throughout, an occasional love story, a story of faith, the complications of a father son relationship, and the recently rediscovered painting "Budapest street scene" which has it own story. There were moments of sheer brilliance, I really enjoyed the moments when Mark directly addresses Virgil, a security guard at the auctioneers house, and the device the author uses to feel we are being directly communicated to a...
  • Judy Churchill
    Let me first say this is not a book I would have chosen to read but I ended up LOVING it. It is about a man’s earnest look at his Jewish roots, his relationship with his father, and his own claim to adulthood and meaning. The novel’s first person style is enchanting. It is altogether a worthwhile story and a must read.
  • Caeli Widger
    This book shines on every level: sentence after sentence is beautiful and precise, the characters are complicated and sympathetic, the ideas are sweeping and profound but never bear down too overtly on the reader. It's a rare novel that is as accomplished in its "meaning" as it is in its pure, old-fashioned storytelling while ALSO succeeding wildly at the language level...but MEMENTO PARK does it all. It's about history, about the lies we inhabit...
  • Nancy
    Each book we read takes us on a different journey--and, this will be a trip I remember for a long, long time. Mark Sarvas' novel was both troubling and compelling and I found myself reading it very quickly because I needed (not wanted, but truly needed) to know its outcome. BUT, when I finished reading the contemplation began.This is a book to savor---maybe in its aftermath, like I am doing., or perhaps as you are reading it. The relationships be...
  • Mark
    A single Jewish man, Matt Santos, an actor in LA, is torn between a blond gentile swimsuit model and a wavy-haired devout Jewish attorney. (Is that a dated, or classic, conflict for a Jewish male protagonist?) Also, he may be able to sell for millions a painting (by an invented artist) stolen by Nazis, which has fallen into his life, if he can show it once belonged to his family. And his distant, gambling, volatile dad has a random hobby of tradi...
  • Zachary Houle
    As a book blogger, sometimes you take chances on seemingly unknown authors and their works with the hopes that you might be blown away. Well, I took a chance on Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park and I’m elated that I did. This compact yet dense novel is about memory, religion, family, relationships, betrayal, art and so much more — but is immensely readable and relatable. Focusing on a modern-day C-list Hollywood actor named Matthew Santos (not...
  • Kathleen Gray
    While this did not resonate with me the way I suspect it will with others, it's a well written novel of a man coming to terms with his own family history and with his father. Matt's world changes when he is contacted about a painting taken from his family during the Holocaust and travels to Hungary. The novel is framed in terms of Matt's rumination about the painting and life. It is indeed a book of self discovery and has some good points to make...
  • Candace
    This is a wonderfully written novel that offers a new take on the issue of art looted from Jewish families during WWII. Matt is set on the path of proving provenance of a painting found in Australia that is believed to have belonged to his family before the war. Matt's a working actor, pretty scattered about his career, his father, Judaism, and his relationships with others in general. He's not sure he cares about this painting for anything but t...
  • Jennifer Carson
    I got an advanced copy of Memento Park and LOVED IT. The writing is exquisite -- elegant, restrained, and powerful, and the novel's secrets are so skillfully and satisfyingly revealed. I was deeply moved, especially by the ending, which was beautifully executed. Matt (the main character) is a complicated, believable, messy person, and the female characters are similarly well-drawn. I fell into this remarkable book. Read it!
  • Liz
    2018-02-26 Santos, born Mathias Santos, is a successful character actor living in Los Angeles with his fiance, Tracy, who is a sought-after catalog model. Mark and Tracy's careers aren't unusual for people who live in L.A., the hub of the entertainment industry in the USA. Mark Sarvas's new novel, MEMENTO PARK, is a vibrant rendition of a family who fled Hungary just as Hitler was about to overtake the country. The ...
  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized
    Matt Santos is standing in an auction hall, looking at a picture, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán. It will be sold the next day and he is ruminating about how this picture came to let him know more about his family than he ever did before and how it changed his life completely. His father had warned him about it, told him to let go, not to pursue the case any further, but he wouldn’t listen. So he is standing there on his own, alone, wi...
  • Vickie
    Matt Santos, a non practicing Jew and minor character actor in LA engaged to a model, is contacted by the Australian consulate because he might be the rightful owner of a painting that may have been stolen from his family in Budapest during World War II. Inexplicably, his father, with whom he has never had a loving relationship, will not discuss the painting or the family’s rightful ownership. With the assistance of an attorney, the devout Rach...
  • Kate
    This book was a surprise on so many levels. It takes not only the characters on a journey-but you yourself. There is the main plot-an issue about art restitution. And there are subplots-the main character and the relationship with his father. And then his relationship with everyone else. The main plot keeps the book moving at a good pace. The subplots hit you in the gut when you least expect it. I lost my Dad 8 years ago and it was amazing how on...
  • Melissa Dee
    There is a lot going on in this relatively slim book. The main character is involved in a quest to gain ownership of a holocaust era painting that may (or may not) have belonged to his family. The quest, of course, is much more complex than that, involving his search for belonging, for membership in a larger group, and even a search for identity. His closest relationships are complicated and yet somehow superficial. I found it interesting that ea...
  • Rich Szabo
    A terrific page turner mystery, actually many mysteries woven into one. Sarvas shows he is a master storyteller, the entire story a flashback that builds the supporting storylines into a thrilling and surprising climax.I found Sarvas’ exploration of the main character’s relationship with his father a compelling and thick mystery of its own, aside from and combined with the mystery surrounding the painting. It led me to see my parents in a new...
  • Robin
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I loved this book. I loved the beautiful writing, the very real characters flaws in all, and the story itself and the intriguing way it unfolded. The story focuses on a sons attempt to reclaim a painting seized by the Nazis but delves deep into the troubled relationship between a son and his father and opposing views about discussing and remembering the past. It deals with the e...
  • Rachel
    I was so impressed with this book. it was a Holocaust story, but not. it was a story about art restitution, but not. The characters were flawed, but likeable. The relationships were complex and complicated. The author's writing style was descriptive and drew me in.except for the moment my hot cup exploded, I loved this book.
  • Natalie
    I am a Hungarian Jew. Matt’s journey is my journey. Can I write a review of this book, which I found so deeply moving that is not colored by my own experiences? I doubt it. So, with that being said, I was extremely taken with Matt’s trip to his family roots in Hungary. Sarvas has written a beautiful novel about self-discovery by dealing with family history. The catalyst for his journey was the attempt to discover the true owner of a valuable ...
  • Marni Switzer
    I loved this book because the main character was likeable despite his flaws, the story was engaging, and despite the foreshadowing I didn’t see the ending coming. A great read.
  • Steve
    A very quick read for me. I liked the fact that the book delved into the complex relationship between Matt and his father.
  • Lola Et La Vie
    In this novel Matt Santos receives a message that a painting is being restored to him. He never knew anything this painting’s existence, but delves into the its past and therefore into his family’s.I was really looking forward to reading Memento Park. I love art and a good family mystery, but unfortunately this one fell a bit flat for me.Memento Park is mainly about relationships, mainly the father-son relationship, but also about family and ...
  • Pam
    Thank you NetGalley for digital ARC.I give the story 4 stars but the way it was told 3 for an overall 3.5. I loved the story. It’s about fathers and sons, our faith and religion, Judaism and survivorship, and art. But the story telling was a little confusing to me as it appears he was addressing his thoughts at times to a security guard, to his lawyer, to his girlfriend and other characters. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were real convers...
  • Annie
    Matt Santos has had the misfortune of completely misunderstanding his father. He thought he knew enough about Gabor Szántós’ life in Hungary during the war and after to explain his gruffness, his obsession with toy cars, and his reluctance to talk about the past. But after Matt learns that a rare painting might have been stolen from the family in 1944 at the beginning of Mark Sarvas’ Memento Park, he finally starts to see how little he real...
  • Katherine
    The description of this book made me very excited to read it and I did enjoy parts of this book. I was intrigued by the story but I found the storytelling device to be frustrating. For me, having the almost the entire story told as a series of reflections occurring over the course of one evening detracted from the book. I found myself frustrated by the narrator's internal monologue with the security guard. I felt like I was being pulled out of a ...