"later he would tell her that their story began at the royal hungarian opera house..."

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In between the duties of everyday life, I have been losing myself in a beautiful novel, “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer, set in Hungary and Paris. I loved Budapest when I visited years ago, found it to be a more magical and haunting city than its more famous peer, Prague. It may lack Prague’s fairy-tale prettiness, but its fraying romantic beauty was built on a grander and somewhat more solemn scale, and walking through its tree-lined boulevards and along the sweeping Danube, you feel the echoes of its turn-of-the-century glamour and its tumultuous history, like ghosts. You don’t need a travel guide to know the place, it envelopes you the minute you hop off the train and enter the glorious, soaring, delicate beauty of Keleti station. I love the way Hungarian sounds too - their name for the Danube is the Duna.

Anyway, the book. From page one, it did what Budapest did to me – I fell into the book and was immersed in the world and the lives Julie Orringer conjured. Pulling my eyes away from it was like waking up from a deep sleep; everything around me feels alien and harsh. It follows the life of a poor Jewish student who moves to Paris in the years leading up to World War II, and the events that follow. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to spend a melancholic afternoon curled up at a comfortable spot, in the beautiful thrall of this novel.

P.S: An older post of mine on Budapest

Comments

Joy said…
definitely now intrigued by this post to read the book! i stopped reading fiction that are not classics and strictly nonfiction as of late. this sounds beautiful! i can't wait to go visit eastern europe.
Cato said…
What a wonderful posting! the book's already in my amazon shopping bag ;). I love books which play around this time in europe and the budapest/paris setting sounds great, too! can't remember much of budapest, I was max. 10 when I was there, but have a bit of an Eastern European background and know other places in this former area quite well. I love the mix of Eastern European traditions and the Austrian Empire past.

Thank you so much for posting this!! :)
lin said…
Joy: You must! The classics are obviously not to be missed, but there's plenty of good contemporary fiction that would be a shame to miss.

Eastern Europe is incredible - I really wished I had managed to get a visa for some of the countries I badly wanted to go, but I guess Bosnia, Moldova and Bulgaria will have to wait.

Cato: It;s definitely worth a read, it's already on my books to reread list. There are so many books that set a good atmosphere but ultimately disappoint with a flaky plot but this book does a pretty decent job all the way through.

I hope to be back in Eastern Europe some day, I feel like I didn't spend nearly enough time there.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing,sounds magical, I added the book to my list of obligatory reads!:) It's always good to hear about great book, from my part I recommend The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons, set in Leningrad in 1941 (and beyond) it may be a romance but with much substence than the usual chick novel;), domi.
son said…
the book sounds interesting - i just downloaded a kindle version of it. i agree with what you said about budapest v prague - my memories of it are far more dusky and mysterious. their parliament building is also such a stunner, and so underrated
lin said…
domi: Thanks for the recommendation, I'm in a book limbo now and would love to have a new book to read.

son: Hope you enjoy it as much as I did... and yes, the Parliament building!

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