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