MARK SARVAS discusses his new novel MEMENTO PARK with JANET FITCH

Memento Park (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

After 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, and restore his connection to his own Judaism. Along the way to illuminating the mysteries of his past, Matt is torn between his doting girlfriend, Tracy, and his alluring attorney, Rachel, with whom he travels to Budapest to unearth the truth about the painting and, in turn, his family.

As his journey progresses, Matt’s revelations are accompanied by equally consuming and imaginative meditations on the painting and the painter at the center of his personal drama, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán. By the time Memento Park reaches its conclusion, Matt’s narrative is as much about family history and father-son dynamics as it is about the nature of art itself, and the infinite ways we come to understand ourselves through it.

Of all the questions asked by Mark Sarvas’s Memento Park—about family and identity, about art and history—a central, unanswerable predicament lingers: How do we move forward when the past looms unreasonably large?

Praise for Memento Park 

“Mark Sarvas has written a gripping mystery novel about art that is also a powerful meditation on fathers and sons, and the need to face up to the falsehoods spawned by the horror of the past.”—Salman Rushdie

“In Mark Sarvas’ elegant, poignant, and intellectually arresting novel, the attempts to reclaim a painting seized by the Nazis opens up into a moving story about a father’s desire to bury his past and a son’s to claim it. Propelled by the intrigue of mystery and suffused with a knowing humor, the novel explores the vagaries of historical memory, the ways in which identity is equal parts inheritance and invention, and the delusions of ownership. Memento Park’s reach is wide and its concerns profound.”—Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin

“A thrilling, ceaselessly intelligent investigation into the crime known as history.”—Joseph O’Neill

“A lively, thoughtful, psychologically compelling novel about the ties that bind, and the ties that fail to.”—Kirkus Reviews

Mark Sarvas is the author of the novel Harry, Revised, which was published in more than a dozen countries around the world. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, Bookforum, and many others. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, PEN/America, and PEN Center USA, and teaches novel writing at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. A reformed blogger, he lives in Santa Monica, California.

Janet Fitch is the author of  the novels White Oleander, an Oprah Book Club selection, Paint It Black, and most recently The Revolution of Marina M., an epic novel set during the Russian Revolution. Her short stories and essays have appeared in a variety of publications including Los Angeles Noir, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Vogue, Black Clock, Room of her Own, and The Rattling Wall. She regularly teaches fiction writing at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Fitch was a recipient a Likhachev Foundation Fellowship to St. Petersburg, Russia, and is currently completing the second volume of her Russian Revolution novel, to be published in March 2019 by Little Brown and Co.

Photo by Yanina Gotsulsky

Event date: 
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Memento Park: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374206376
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 13th, 2018

The Revolution of Marina M. (A Novel) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316022064
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - November 7th, 2017

White Oleander: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316284950
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - May 2000

Paint It Black: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316067140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - October 3rd, 2007