Stephen Vizinczey, ‘In Praise of Older Women’ Author, Dies at 88

Stephen Vizinczey, whose novel “In Praise of Older Women,” a few man’s sexual training by paramours not in his age bracket, induced a stir within the mid-1960s and have become a cultural reference level, died on Aug. 18 at his house in London. He was 88.

His stepdaughter, the filmmaker Mary Harron, mentioned the trigger was kidney and coronary heart failure.

The full title of Mr. Vizinczey’s best-known e book was “In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of Andras Vajda.” Its title character was a philosophy teacher who reminisces about discovering his solution to maturity by his relationships with a collection of older lovers. The character’s definition of “older” — and Mr. Vizinczey’s — could seem odd in the present day; a girl in her mid-30s certified. But the purpose, Mr. Vizinczey mentioned at the time, was to supply an alternative choice to the prevailing view of intercourse.

“The North American myth that youth is wonderful, that the perfect ‘woman’ is 18 years old, is simply a lot of hogwash,” he instructed The Gazette of Montreal in 1965, when the e book was first printed in Canada.

Mr. Vizinczey, Hungarian by start, was residing in Canada at the time and took the weird step of forming his personal firm, Contemporary Canada Press, to publish the novel, which he marketed himself. His religion in his personal work paid off. News accounts at the time mentioned his e book knocked the James A. Michener blockbuster “The Source” out of the highest spot on the best-seller checklist in Toronto.

The feat was notably outstanding in that, when he had arrived in Canada in 1957, he spoke nearly no English. Tony Emery, writing concerning the e book in The Victoria Daily Times in 1965, famous the achievement.

“The writing has an economy, a simplicity and directness,” he mentioned, “which puts to shame the involved fake-political utterances of many writers for whom English is the native tongue.”

Mr. Vizinczey fashioned his personal firm to publish his novel in 1965. By the time Penguin Classics republished it in 2010, it was mentioned to have bought 5 million copies in 21 nations.Credit…Armadillo Alley Books

The e book, heavy with autobiographical components and frank about intercourse, was such a success that it was printed within the United States by Trident the following 12 months. Some reviewers discovered it to be an excessive amount of.

“Mr. Vizinczey has written a grammatically constructed book of pornography,” Candy Kaughten wrote in The Miami News. “At least so I judge by the first two chapters. I was not able to finish more. The author is to be commended for his passion for research, but common sense leads me to believe that it would be physically impossible for him to have done all the research personally.”

But Eliot Fremont-Smith, writing in The New York Times, discovered benefit within the work.

“If ‘In Praise of Older Women’ goes not much of anywhere as a novel,” he wrote, “as an essay on erotics it is refreshing.”

The e book impressed two movies: a Hollywood model in 1978 whose stars included Tom Berenger and Karen Black, and a Spanish film in 1997 with Juan Diego Botto because the central character and Faye Dunaway as one of the love pursuits. Its title grew to become one thing of a cultural catchphrase, and by the point Penguin Classics republished it in 2010, it was mentioned to have bought 5 million copies in 21 nations.

The Penguin version got here out when a lot was being written concerning the cougar-and-boy-toy phenomenon — older girls, together with some A-list celebrities, who had been romantically concerned with a lot youthful males. In interviews at the time, Mr. Vizinczey rejected the concept that his novel was a forerunner of that development; these relationships appeared merely bodily, he mentioned, whereas those he wrote about had been one thing extra.

“In the world I grew up in, sex was never just sex,” he instructed The Independent Extra of Britain in 2010. “It started with some kind of connection. The older women wanted to give something — not money, not a loan — to give something of themselves. You were friends, you had some point of unity. Intelligence was very important.”

Stephen Vizinczei — he later modified the spelling — was born on May 12, 1933, in Kaloz, Hungary, southwest of Budapest. When he was 2 his father, a Roman Catholic schoolteacher and antifascist, was murdered by the Nazis, who had been ascendant in Hungary at the time.

As a younger man he wrote performs, some of which displeased the Soviet-backed authorities that had taken management of the nation after World War II. By the time of the 1956 rebellion in opposition to that authorities, he was 23 and within the thick of the revolt; he was half of a gaggle that pulled down a statue of Stalin in Budapest that October.

“We had no technical knowledge and hoped to pull down the colossal bronze statue with steel cables tied to the tractors,” he wrote in 2006 in a remembrance printed in The National Post of Canada. “We were surprised that the cables snapped. But eventually someone with a blow torch came around and cut off Stalin’s feet at the boots.”

In the aftermath of that failed revolution he fled the nation, shifting to Italy for a time earlier than settling in Canada. There he met Gloria Fisher Harron; they married in 1963.

“My mother believed passionately in his work,” Mary Harron mentioned by e-mail, “and she was enormously important to him as editor, researcher and critic — everything he wrote passed under her eyes for review. Before computers she typed out everything he wrote in longhand, and I remember huge stormy arguments over the placement of a comma.”

Mr. Vizinczey's second novel, “An Innocent Millionaire,” printed in Canada in 1983 and later within the United States, was about an idealistic man in a world dominated by greed. Sam Tanenhaus, reviewing it in The Times in 1985, known as it “a delicious entertainment that towers above most commercial fiction.”

Mr. Vizinczey’s spouse died final 12 months. In addition to Ms. Harron, he’s survived by a daughter, Marianne Edwards, and two granddaughters.

In a e book of essays, “Truth and Lies in Literature: A Writer’s Ten Commandments” (1986), Mr. Vizinczey mentioned his strategy to writing fiction.

“I never sit down in front of a bare page to invent something,” he wrote. “I daydream about my characters, their lives and their struggles, and when a scene has played out in my imagination and I think I know what my characters felt, said and did, I take pen and paper and try to report what I’ve witnessed.”