Beethoven's Mask: Notes On My Life and Times
Key Porter Books, 2005
In his extraordinary memoir, Beethoven's Mask, George Jonas describes life as an Italian opera: an absurd story set to irresistible music. Spanning the period between 1935 and 2001 -- from just before the outbreak of the Second World War to 9/11 -- the narrative takes the form of a journey log, zeroing in on key episodes in Jonas's own life and in the lives of others: famous, infamous, and anonymous men and women that he encountered in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Beethoven's Mask is an extraordinary, riveting read. Powerful storytelling and sharp observation, leavened with marvelous wit and style, combine to deliver one of the most vivid memoirs ever written.
"Beethoven's Mask is an absorbing, illuminating political and philosophical memoir: an entertaining, kitsch-free chronicle of a genuinely interesting life, and a surgically precise vivisection of the 20th-century ideologies and cultural clashes. A brilliant read."
– Barbara Kay, National Post
"George Jonas's brilliant memoir, Beethoven's Mask, is more a dazzling Kaleidoscope of the period between 1935 and 2001 than a formal chronological autobiography. It's amazing that this young Hungarian freedom fighter became one of the best English writers in Canada."
– Willa McLean, London Free Press
"As this elegantly written memoir and collection of provocative essays makes clear, Jonas is indeed a 'Renaissance man.' Whether or not you agree with his views, it is difficult to dispute his keen intellect, insightful analysis and sarcastic wit. Beethoven's Mask is a fascinating and engaging work by an accomplished writer."
– Allan Levine, The Globe and Mail
"Vintage Jonas... he dissects with surgeon's scalpel and uncommon objectivity, subjects which have seared Jewish life in the 20th century."
– Arnold Ages, Jewish Tribune
"George Jonas is more than just a brilliant writer and a crystal-clear thinker. He was one of the handful of Canadian conservatives fighting the ideological culture wars during the 1970s and 1980s, when the cause of liberty seemed the most hopeless."
– Ezra Levant, Western Standard
"Beethoven's Mask is not only interesting from a political and historical viewpoint, it is also beautifully written, humorous and full of fabulous stories."
– Pierre Lemieux, Western Standard