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Prague by Arthur Phillips

Prague (2002)

by Arthur Phillips

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1,316269,542 (3.21)76
A first novel of startling scope and ambition,Praguedepicts an intentionally lost Lost Generation as it follows five American expats who come to Budapest in the early 1990s to seek their fortune—financial, romantic, and spiritual—in an exotic city newly opened to the West. They harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague, where the atmospheric decay of post–Cold War Europe is even more cinematically perfect, have it better. Still, they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making. What they actually find is a deceptively beautiful place that they often fail to understand. What does it mean to fret about your fledgling career when the man across the table was tortured by two different regimes? How does your short, uneventful life compare to the lives of those who actually resisted, fought, and died? What does your angst mean in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion? Journalist John Price finds these questions impossible to answer yet impossible to avoid, though he tries to forget them in the din of Budapest’s nightclubs, in a romance with a secretive young diplomat, at the table of an elderly cocktail pianist, and in the moody company of a young man obsessed with nostalgia. Arriving in Budapest one spring day to pursue his elusive brother, John finds himself pursuing something else entirely, something he can’t quite put a name to, something that will draw him into stories much larger than himself. With humor, intelligence, masterly prose, and profound affection for both Budapest and his own characters, Arthur Phillips not only captures his contemporaries but also brilliantly renders the Hungary of past and present: the generations of failed revolutionaries and lyric poets, opportunists and profiteers, heroes and storytellers.… (more)

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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Less than two weeks after I read this novel I was crossing the Danube with the woman I would soon marry. Happenstance, possibly, but the trepidation felt in the novel on the Chain Bridge was echoed in my own experience.

There is thus an aspect of Arthur Phillips which I would love to thank for distilling such a moment, allowing it to suspend and pulse, thus securing it in my mind on that sunny Hungarian afternoon. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
disjointed, but good ( )
  LivingReflections | Dec 2, 2018 |
Five young men in newly capitalist Budapest - their exploits for one year.
  bmcbook | Dec 27, 2017 |
This novel perfectly captures youth on the precipice of adulthood, full of earnest yearning, eternal questions, irony and a creeping cynicism and even dread that that moment, right then, is about as good as it gets. It's about a group of American expats hanging out in Eastern Europe, Budapest to be exact, where they all yearn for Prague, the epitome of cool, told in thick stylish ironic prose that I enjoyed, laughed at, and occasionally envied. Having been an expat myself at about the same point in my youth, I immediately recognized these characters, and by the end, I knew them nearly as well as their real-life counterparts. ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
An outstanding tome dedicated to Budapest. A city which is smattered with reminders of its past – both the distant royal past and the not-so-distant Communist era past – and indicators of its growing status as a city of culture and business. The way he writes of nostalgia and future-longing is exceptionally mesmerising. While focused on a number of American and Canadian expats with Hungarian heritage, what this really is is a thrilling biography for Budapest herself. ( )
  m-andrews | Sep 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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