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The Piano Player of Budapest

Author(s): Roxanne de Bastion

Location(s): Austria, Budapest, Hungary

Genre(s): Biography

Era(s): WW2 onwards

All future, freedom and success lay ahead of young pianist Stephen de Bastion in 1930s Hungary. Life whirled headily around cocktails, romance, applause and the buzz of Budapest late into the night. Then, 1939. Stephen’s world disintegrates and this becomes a story of his brutal descent, of his time in labour camps, of Mauthausen and Gunskirchen and the unimaginable horrors he endured during the Holocaust as a man of Jewish descent. Yet, this is also a tale of extraordinary escape … and the piano, waiting for him.

The same piano that Roxanne de Bastion, his granddaughter, inherits when her father dies. It has been in the family over one hundred years but it is only when, deep in grief, she discovers a cassette recording of Stephen, that the astonishing history of the piano, the man and her family begins to unravel. Weaving together his original recordings, unpublished memoirs, letters and documents, Roxanne sings out her grandfather’s story of music and hope, lost and found. Luminous and profoundly moving, this book captures the great spirit of one man in the face of darkness and the hope that echoes down through generations.

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