First of all this book is out of print. I bought my copy from playtrade.com.
During the past two weeks I have 1) Slept very badly, usually waking up at 2 in the morning and 2) been without a computer. As a result I was able to finish off this weighty tome in a couple of weeks. Saying that I really wasn’t in the mood for reading 900 pages about Hungarian history at this point in time. Anyways whatever the list dictates I read!
For those who don’t know the Esterhazy’s are one of Hungary’s most prominent families. Boasting of a lineage which can be traced back to Hungary’s beginnings, Esterhzays have played their part in European history. They have helped cultural icons like Hayden and Bartok with their compositions, been by the side of most of the Hungarian monarchs and even helped out Winston Churchill during the second world war. There’s even a place in Canada called Esterhazy due to one of Peter Esterhazy’s great great uncles moving there in the late 1800’s.
All of this is chronicled in Celestial Harmonies (the surname Esterhazy means ‘of the stars’ so the title has a sort of double meaning)
The book itself is divided into two halves. The first section deals with random paragraphs about the beginnings of the Esterhazy clan and as a consequence we get a snapshot of Hungarian history – time jumps a lot but the majority of this part takes place around the Ottoman war period – the 1500’s. The second section is a more autobiographical and is more cohesive.
Celestial Harmonies is a unique novel. I personally doubt if something like this will ever crop up again. It is, however a very tiring novel and sometimes the scattershot paragraphs in the first section can be a bit irritating. Although I don’t regret reading it (at least know my knowledge on Hungary has improved!), but I cannot say that I loved it. Like I mentioned earlier I wasn’t in the mood for a thick novel and this probably why i’m not too enthusiastic about it. saying that Celestial Harmonies’ importance cannot be overlooked.