I’m not sure if A Book of Memories is representative of Peter Nadas’s work, but if it is then this author is difficult to quote concisely. This isn’t just a matter of most of his sentences being paragraph-length (and most of them are, and the paragraphs tend to be page-length), this is also a matter of the very distributed way in which his sentences convey meaning. Nadas’s writing (again, judging only by A Book of Memories) eludes concision because of the way his sentences loop back and back in upon themselves, probe each nuance as it comes up, inch bit by bit toward a complete action, in this way slowly building up layers and layers of meaning and interconnection–and often withholding the most important detail until the end.
Still, I will now attempt to quote Nadas somewhat concisely. This quote comes from the first paragraph of a segment called "Losing Consciousness and Regaining It." The narrator has been tossed up by a massive wave and knocked unconscious upon some rocks. He comes to, oddly nostalgic for the way he thinks he must have felt while he was swooned.
When I finally came to on the rocky embankment of Heiligendamm, I may have known where I was and in what condition, yet I’d have to say that this was nothing more than sensing existence in pure, disembodied form, because my consciousness was lacking all those inner flashes of instinct and habit tat, relying on experience and desires, evoke images and sounds, ensure the unrboken flow of imagination and memory that renders our existence sensible and to an extent even purposeful, enables us to define our position in the world and establish contact with our surroundings, or to relinquish this connection, which in itself is a form of contact; during the first and probably very brief phase of my returning to consciousness I felt no lack of any kind, if only because experiencing that senseless and purposeless state filled the very void I should have perceived as a lack; the sharp, slippery rocks did make me sense my body, water on my face did make my skin tingle, therefore I had to be aware of rocks and water and body and skin, yet these points of awareness, so keen in and of themselves, did not relate to the real situation which, in my normal state, I would have considered very unpleasant, dangerous, even intolerable; precisely because these sensations were so acute, so intense, and because I now felt what a moment ago I couldn’t yet have experienced, which meant that consciousness was returning to its customary track of remembering and comparing, I could not expect to absorb everything my consciousness had to offer . . . ; in this sense, then, wht had passed, the total insensibility of unconsciousness, proved to be a far stronger sensual pleasure than the sensation of real things, so if I had any purposeful desire at that point, it was not to recover but to relapse, not to regain consciousness but to faint again; this may have been the first so-called thought formed by a mind becoming once again partially conscious, comparing my state of "some things I can already feel" not with my state prior to losing consciousness but with unconsciousness itself, the longing for which was so profound that my returning memory wanted to sink back into oblivion, to recall what could no longer be recalled, to remember the void, the state in which pure sensation produces nothing tangible . . . ; it seemed that by coming back to consciousness, by being able to think and to remember, I had to lose paradise . . .
And, with the way the narrator of A Book of Memories is forever splitting each action into finer and finer pieces, apparently intent, one must think, on reaching the final, primordial quark-level of thought beyond which any particular action cannot be broken down into any smaller unit, who’s to say that a hazy, not-quite-human consciousness wouldn’t be manna for him?