Ecco (HarperCollins), Feb 16 2010, $
In Budapest, the narrator knows his nonagenarian mom is ill, but still retains her incredible lust for living life to the fullest. He looks back over the decades to his childhood and early adulthood playing soccer. He recalls the Communist abuse towards his family due to their surname and his vivacious mom used soccer for her and her family to overcome the brutality from the State. She befriended the Hungarian players even knowing that at least one member of the team was an informant because that was a way of life under the Communists.
This is an odd well written but difficult to follow drama that reads sort of like a series of vignettes that tie together as a biographical fiction. The narrator looks back on his life and the most influential person in it over the decades, his mom and her life as helped her family survive the brutal regime through her soccer connections. Told in twelve short stories, Not Art is for fans of something totally different as Peter Esterhazy provides a deep look at Hungary under Communist rule and beyond through apparently a glimpse into his family history inside of the bigger soccer field.