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, Historical, Historical Fiction, Art, World War II, Holocaust, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Hungary

Reviews Memento Park

  • Angela M
    There have been a number of books published these last few years about a lost and found painting which becomes the link between a past and present narrative. At first I wasn’t sure if I was up for another one like this, but the book description promised more. I’m glad I took a chance because I wasn’t disappointed. It’s about a lost and found relationship between a father and a son and about the loss and discovery of a man’s identity whe...
  • Elyse
    Audiobook- narrated by David Ledoux was a ‘perfect/terrific’ choice for this novel . David Ledoux .....( must give this narrator credit), became more than a voice for Matt Santos, a secular Jewish protagonist. He makes it abundantly clear that under the gruff, sardonic exterior of Matt, under his sarcasm, and occasionally self-loathing, Matt was troubled by his personal life, - [past and present] - his professional life....his relationships w...
  • Diane S ☔
    A painting by Ervin Kalman, titled a Budapest Street scene looted by the Nazis, is the background of this novel. Matt, a young Jewish man who is out of touch with his faith, is contacted by a lawyer, telling him this painiting, traced back to his family, has been found. What he cannot understand is his father, who came to America from Hungary, doesn't want anything to do with this endeavor. A father who he has a estranged relationship with but do...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    4.5★“ . . . and I can only think about all I have squandered, the astonishing lack of care with which I have blundered through life. So much beyond recovery, things that can never be restored, truths devoured by time, by neglect.”Matt Santos is sitting in an auction house, after closing time, in front of the painting around which the people in this story revolve. The very existence of the painting, where it came from, and to whom it belongs...
  • 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...
  • Robert Blumenthal
    This is a beautifully written story of a son trying to connect with a distant father wrapped around a mystery involving a painting that was discovered that had been stolen from a Hungarian Jewish family by the Nazis in WWII. Matt is a semi-successful young actor in Hollywood, the son of a Hungarian immigrant. He is informed that a painting that was owned by his family has been discovered and that he could claim it and take possession of it. There...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • Judy
    I read this novel because Mark Sarvas used to have a wonderful literary blog called The Elegant Variation. It was one of the first blogs I followed back when book blogging was a new fresh thing and a big deal. He inspired me to start my own blog.Memento Park is the story of a 21st century man descended from Hungarian Jews. Matt Santos is a B-list actor. He has steady work doing bit parts on TV shows and is engaged to a beautiful, not Jewish, blon...
  • 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 Wolfson
    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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Marcy
    4.5 - I was absorbed by this book from the first page. The story revolves around the recovery of a painting stolen by the Nazis from a Hungarian family.Although the concept is not original, the storytelling in this book is. Told in the first person, full of self reflection, it very much feels like real memory; not linear but in pieces that are often humorous and heartwarming. The characters are all fully flushed and interesting, and the backdrop ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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!
  • Suzie Leadabrand
    Startlingly accurate. How we respond, interact, deny, avoid our family of origin, sometimes too late to recover meaningful dialogue. Add to that the mix gut-wrenching lives of loved ones we have no way of beginning to even imagine, unearth, let alone understand.
  • Ellen
    Mark Savras has written an unforgettable novel in "Memento Park", which is centered around Matt's relationship with his father, which is complex and vacillates between love and intense dislike. Other plot lines include the restoration to Matt's family of a painting by a Hungarian-Jewish painter whose life was destroyed by the Nazi takeover of Hungary during World War II; the artist committed suicide before the occupation of Budapest took place, a...
  • Dara Markowitz
    first person , virtually a monologue. More about making peace with your past and your relationships. "Just because you know what someone will do, doesn't mean to know who they are" Hashkiveinu Could be a Jewish book club read
  • Mainlinebooker
    Contemplative.Insightful.Humorous.Bittersweet...These are all the adjectives that come to mind upon finishing this complex novel. While on the surface it appears to be about a second generation Jewish Hungarian American who despite knowing little about Judaism finds himself a recipient of a famous painting. This painting was taken from his family's home and under the restitution act, will soon make him a very rich man. He travels to Europe and ar...
  • Merle
    On the surface this novel, Memento Park, written by Mark Sarvas, seems to be about the process of recovering Budapest Street Scene, the painting that was lost by the Santos family when his grandfather escaped to America and his grandmother was killed in a concentration camp. But underneath there are multiple interactions that are all ripe for discussion and analysis. So many different points that different readers will relate to and connect to.So...
  • Laura
    This was just phenomenal writing. I honestly would have a hard time choosing to read this book if I were to give a summary or description, so I don't feel equipped to give a review. However, I highly recommend it and will be checking out Sarvas' other writing.
  • Elizabeth
    “It’s possible to spend an entire life looking at something, and, even then, fail to behold it in any meaningful way. “ This is more like three and a half stars(the second half is not quite as strong as the first half), but I haven’t enjoyed the writing in a book this much in a long time. Matt, the main character believes he has a claim to a painting that was taken by the Nazis right before Hungary fell to the Germans. Matt does not know ...
  • Liz
    1970-01-01 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 ...
  • Peter
    A haunting elegy about fathers and sons, faith, and a painting with a past. Beautifully written and quir moving.
  • 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...
  • 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...