by Arthur Phillips

This is a book for those who want to remember what it was like to be young, naïve and romantic in a foreign city. Despite its title, it is also for those who love Budapest and view it as a grand old lady emerging from the shroud of communism. It is totally absorbing and takes you back to the 90s when the glories of eastern Europe were slowly coming to new life.


Fleeting of course. Those sensations of clarity and arrival. Despite her physical generosity, Nicky was in her own way as unattainable as Emily: He felt, in her spattered apartment, like a much cherished witness to her life, even a key supporting character, while again suspecting that his own real life was locked up at the top of Buda hill, in Emily’s bungalow. Infuriating: all this time wasted in unquenchable unrequital. He stared at his reflection in the bar’s long mirror. This was too much, the worst sort of foolishness, and not even confined to romance: His evenings with Nicky imagining Emily, meetings with Imre longing for Scott’s unsolicited forgiveness, nights with Nadja wishing her younger, and here now yet one more drink pretending Scott might someday develop into some other brother entirely. This must end.


Rates of Exchange by Malcolm Bradbury
The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankel

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