The Afterlife of Stars

  • by Joseph Kertes
  • Narrated by Tristan Morris
  • 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Russian tanks roll into the public squares of Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution, brothers Robert and Attila Beck flee with their family to the Paris townhouse of their great-aunt Hermina. The year is 1956, and as their country changes forever, these two boys transform as well, confronting danger and wonders previously unknown.
As they travel through minefields both real and imagined, Robert and Attila grapple with sibling rivalry, family secrets, and incalculable loss. Along the way they encounter mysterious fellow travelers, bewildering sights of a nation in transition, and surprising hilarity, all in pursuit of the one place they thought they'd lost forever: home.
Elegant, tender, and deeply funny, Joseph Kertes has crafted a journey filled with adventure and heartbreak. A meditation on both family and displacement, The Afterlife of Stars is a tale of perseverance, faith, and the unbreakable bond of brotherhood.


What the Critics Say

"Kertes, who himself escaped Hungary after the 1956 revolution, delivers a fast paced and taut narrative that captures how inscrutable the world's cruelties can be to the children who witness them. Stirring and haunting, The Afterlife of Stars memorably shows how the bonds of brotherhood stay strong in a crisis." (Bridget Thoreson, Booklist)
"[A] fervent novel. Kertes (Gratitude, 2009), winner of the National Jewish Book Award, begins his newest work in his own native Budapest.... [Protagonists] Robert and Attila are a winning pair of guides.... Kertes' voice is a lyrical one, and his work is frequently moving." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Aftermath of 1956

The narration was so painful that I cannot believe I listened to it for seven hours. The narrator affected what was supposed to be a Hungarian Jewish accent, and which sounded like a mishmash of Eastern European accents, largely Czech. Toward the end of the book, it became clear that he cannot even pronounce French! Why did no one coach him? It would have been better to let him read in his own generalIy pleasant accent. The story was an odd assortment of historical details stirred into implausible episodes. The climax in the sewers of Paris was particularly egregious: the kind of thing that an author defends by exclaiming, "But it really happened!" The few metaphors stick out. I wanted to learn something about Hungary, but most of the book takes place after the family leaves. Why did I keep reading? I admire authors who record and shape for us their experience, particularly that of emigration; and for that, I thank Kertes.
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- Dr. Marlena Corcoran

Good story throughout.

Every moment offered a surprise and a moment of fascination. Humor and not-humor were in every chapter. This is a very good accomplishment.
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- Marc

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-10-2017
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio