Hi everyone! Welcome back to The Reading Corner for All.
I recently received the privilege of reading Tom Weidlinger's debut work The Restless Hungarian: Modernism, Madness, and the American Dream. This memoir chronicles the life of Tom's father, Paul Weidlinger, in a rousing narrative where Tom presents his father's life through unfiltered eyes as both a son and a man who is discovering the depth of Paul Weidlinger's legacy.
All throughout The Restless Hungarian, Tom's voice as an author clearly resonated from the pages in a manner that completely engaged me with the memoir. The scope of Paul's life left such a grand imprint on the world and Tom articulates his father's architectural vision and personal history with a great sense of dignity.
While The Restless Hungarian centers around Paul Weidlinger, this is also very much a story about Tom and his own journey of self-discovery that commenced when he started reading a box of his father's papers that he'd inherited after Paul's passing. Alongside Tom, readers gain a wider sense of a universally shared history as we voyage through the different stages in Paul's life and Tom's own recollections of his father. Tom's great efforts transport the unique personalities of his father and family past the veil of time.
There is one line in particular that truly made an outstanding impression on me. On my copy it is on page 198 that follows a picture of infant Tom being held by Paul.
"When I was born, his story becomes my story and my story becomes only a part of his. There are no clean edges for me where he ends and I begin." (pg. 198)
At this point, the memoir is almost at its end. By this point, readers have gained insight into all the environmental and personal influences that surrounded Paul Weidlinger's life as well as the difficult moments that Tom and Paul shared. This line from The Restless Hungarian stood out for me because of Tom's ability to animate history. Altogether, Tom Weidlinger pays a great homage to his father's uniquely turbulent life and family history in The Restless Hungarian and it is a captivating memoir that I'd certainly recommend to readers!