Memento Park

by Mark Sarvas.

A beautifully crafted storytelling device trumps a lackluster story. Matt Santos tells his story telepathically to an overnight guard at the auction house where a valuable painting he’s unexpectedly inherited awaits sale.

Matt Santos is the anglicized name of the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants who discovers he’s the recipient of a newly discovered art treasure. The painting was taken during WWII under the Nazi’s and has been discovered at the National Gallery and traced to Matt’s holocaust survivor family. His father has rejected the work and Matt embarks on a journey confronting his relationship with his father, his lack of Jewish life in the home, and his family’s complicated story to find out why.

The women in Matt’s life; Tracy is a shiksa dream model who has a passion for an anti- death penalty cause, and Rachel his lawyer is a devout Jew with a passion for her faith. Matt cannot connect with either on an intimate level.

Memento Park, a real place in Hungary, provides the supposed climactic venue. Yet it was a gratuitous fizz left on the bank of the Danube in a later so-called powerful scene. So although the writing was good, the story was meh. The surprise ending was foreshadowed from the beginning.

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