A gripping story of ambition, lust, seduction, and betrayal . . . After the communists destroy his dream of becoming a recognized painter, Reinhardt Drixler escapes Hungary and moves to America to further his artistic ambitions and provide a better future for his young family. Twenty-five years later, his son Béla falls in love with Suzy Kiss, an alluring striptease dancer whose interest in Béla can be summarized in two words: green card. When Suzy is mysteriously deported, a devastated Béla must make a decision – should he stay in New York and continue with the noble artistic ambitions his father instilled in him, or should he follow his heart to Hungary and explore the enticing and risqué opportunities blossoming in Budapest after the collapse of communism? The City of Earthly Desire is a sweeping novel of love and lust, beauty and vulgarity, humor and pathos, and art and ethics. The story is peopled by a memorable cast of characters who are as intense, turbulent, and ambivalent as the place and time they occupy.
This book had me and my attention from the start. It's a sweeping story that is just beautifully written. I honestly cannot pinpoint any flaw. The size of this book intimidated me at first, but once you start reading you do NOT want to stop. The characters are flawed but still beautiful in their own way. This is a story that will haunt you well after you have finished.
I loved it. I read it in a day and a half, and the half was because I FORCED myself to go to bed and woke up earlier the next morning to finish! That should tell you something, because I am in LOVE with my sleep.
Great writing, great characters, and in depth story development..read this book! Got it!?
Francis Berger was born in New York City in 1971. Recently, he completed a six year stretch as a high school teacher in the Bronx and Queens in New York City. He has published some short stories, most notably in The Toronto Star. The City of Earthly Desire is his first novel. He currently lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife and young son.
Top Ten Books And Why – Francis Berger
In these secular times it has become somewhat unfashionable to read “The Good Book.” Nonetheless, even if someone is a hardened atheist, an understanding of the foundation of Western society, especially in the realm of ethics and morality, would not be a detriment. Having said that, it is still the go-to source for great and often archetypal stories.
The Greek Myths – Robert Graves
Perhaps the most accessible and careful retelling of the myths that serve as the prototypes for so many later narratives.
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
To be or not to be . . . need anything more be said?
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
All the tension of a whodunit enveloped in the moral labyrinth of a why-did-he-do-it. More than anyone, Dostoevsky screams to us from the rooftops of the dangers of a world “where everything is permitted.”
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Most people refuse to read this novel for its sheer bulk alone. Yet, interestingly enough, many of those same people see nothing wrong with reading several thousand pages of the Harry Potter series. If length alone does not scare most readers off, the complexity of the plot and the many characters who people it do. In today's age, where all kinds of supplementary material can be found online with a few pushes of some buttons, there is no excuse for anyone to avoid Tolstoy's masterpiece.
Lost Illusions – Honore de Balzac
Ever know anyone who came from humble beginnings and wanted to make it big in New York City or Hollywood? Were you ever one of those people yourself? Perhaps you still are? Fascinated by American Idol? Forget all that. Balzac delves into the lustful furnaces of human ambition to discover what steel society is really tempered from.
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The greatest metaphysical story ever composed, complete with Shakespearean syntax and the towering figure of Captain Ahab, one of the most compelling characters ever created.
The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
In order to create a utopia, one first needs a sewer system. A damning document of communism and its inherent cruelty. A warning to all future attempts at creating heaven on earth.
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The ultimate redemption story. A timeless classic and, for Dickens, refreshingly brief in its telling.
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Salinger does such a masterful job capturing the narrative voice of Holden Caulfield the reader cannot help but be swept away in the all the angst and anger. I also tip my hat to the idea that Salinger steadfastly refused to have anyone make a film adaptation of his novel. Let's all hope Catcher never makes it to “a theater near you.”