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Five great books set in Hungary

5th March 2019

Five great books set in Hungary is the latest in our ‘Five great books…’ series.

Five great books set in Hungary

With a complex history and many different influences through the centuries, Hungary is now more settled politically, socially and financially than for much of its dark past. The country’s 10 million people punch well above their collective weight in so many ways, and Hungary’s cultural past is but a small piece of this overall national picture.

The capital Budapest sits astride the Danube and benefits from significant levels of tourism, but don’t miss the opportunity to explore outside of the city.

Here are five books from the TripFiction database that hopefully give a sense of this intriguing, historical Middle European country:

Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The acclaimed travel writer’s youthful journey – as an 18-year-old – across 1930s Europe by foot began inA Time of Gifts, which covered the author’s exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary.

Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.

The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor’s account also provides a coherent understanding of the dramatic events then unfolding in Middle Europe. But the delight remains in travelling with him in his picaresque journey past remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges.

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Budapest Noir by Vilmos Kondor

A dark, riveting, and lightning fast novel of murder, intrigue, and political corruption, set in 1936 Hungary during the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis in Germany, Budapest Noir marks the emergence of an extraordinary new voice in literary crime fiction, Vilmos Kondor.

Kondor’s remarkable debut brings this European city to breathtaking life–from the wealthy residential neighborhoods of Buda to the slums of Pest–as it follows crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon’s investigation into the strange death of a beautiful woman. As Gordon’s search for the truth leads him to shocking revelations about a seedy underground crime syndicate and its corrupt political patrons, Budapest Noir will transport you to a dark time and place, and hold you there spellbound until the final page is turned.

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Mrs Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Anderson

When Natalie and Anna, sisters and life-long rivals, hide an abandoned child from the Nazis, their deception resurrects the scars of a star-crossed love triangle that threats their safety and tests the bonds of their loyalty.

Hungary’s fragile alliance with Germany ensured that Natalie, a renowned children’s book author, and her family would be safe as the war raged through Europe. But, as the Führer’s desperation grows in the waning years of the conflict, neighbors now become traitors.

Beautiful but troubled Anna, poet and university professor, is losing her tenuous hold on reality, re-igniting a sibling rivalry that began with a poetry contest in childhood. It boils over when Deszo, Anna’s unrequited love, re-enters their lives with a promise of safety.

As the streets of Budapest thrum with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers, danger creeps to the doorstep and the sisters’ disintegrating relationship threatens to expose the child they are trying to protect. In one night, Anna’s rash behavior destroys their carefully made plans of escape, and Natalie is presented with a desperate decision.

Interwoven with Natalie and Anna’s story, is Mila’s, the abandoned child whose future Natalie lovingly imagines in a story called Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure.

A story that takes on a life of its own fifty years later.

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Prague by Arthur Phillips

A group of American expats en route to adventure, inspiration, or perhaps even history-in-the-making in Prague, somehow get sidetracked and settle instead for the enigmatic city of Budapest.

Arriving in Hungary’s capital to pursue his elusive brother, journalist John Price finds himself drawn into the din of Budapest’s nightclubs, a romance with a secretive young diplomat, the table of an elderly cocktail pianist, and the moody company of a young man obsessed with nostalgia, all in a bid to forget the larger questions that arise in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion.

With humour, intelligence and masterly prose, Phillips captures the character of his contemporaries and brilliantly renders a very weird ‘modern’ city.

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Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer

Tibor Fischer’s hilarious first novel follows the adventures of two young Hungarian basketball players through the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the revolution of 1956.

In this spirited indictment of totalitarianism, the two improbable heroes, Pataki and Gyuri, travel the length and breadth of Hungary in an epic quest for food, lodging, and female companionship.

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Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Do you know any other books set firmly in HUNGARY to add to our database? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below, and remember that you can buy any of these books through TripFiction by clicking on the bookseller links on any book icon.

Check the TripFiction Database for our full range of books set in Hungary.

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Other posts in our ‘Five great books set in…’ series:

Five great books set in Naples

Five great books set in Dublin

Five great books set in Dubai

Five great books set in Portugal

Five great books set in San Francisco

Five great books set in Edinburgh

Five great books set in Guernsey

Five great books set in Mexico

Five great books set in Alpine countries

Five great books set in Korea

Five great books set in Tunisia

Five great books set in Sweden

Five great books set in Croatia

Five great books set in Pompeii

Five great books set in Sicily

Five great books set in Yorkshire

Five great books set in Cornwall

Five great books set in Devon

Five great books set in ski resorts

Five great books set in Lapland

Five great books for tennis enthusiasts

Five great books with food at their heart

Five great books set in Tasmania

Five great books set in Cult Communities

Five great books set in South Wales

Five great books about walking

And our ‘Ten great books set in…’ series includes:

Ten great books set in Paris

Ten great books set in New York

Ten great books set in London

Ten great books set in Rome

Ten great books set in Berlin

Ten great books set in Russia

Ten great books set in Spain

Ten great books set in Amsterdam

Ten great books set in Thailand

Ten great books set in Raj era India

Ten great books set in Japan

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  1. User: Connie Connally

    Posted on: 28/03/2021 at 4:42 am

    You can add my book, too! My novel The Songs We Hide was published in 2018 by Coffeetown Press to excellent reviews. It takes place in Hungary in 1951, at the height of Stalinism. Here’s a one-sentence synopsis: “In communist Hungary, a peasant loses his land, a young mother loses her baby’s father, and both are scared into silence–until music brings them together to face the agonizing tests ahead.”
    –Connie Hampton Connally


    1 Comment

    • User: Tina Hartas

      Posted on: 28/03/2021 at 11:07 am

      Hi Connie – you are very welcome to add your book to our database, so that when people are looking for books set there, they will come across your title “Add a Book” http://www.tripfiction.com


  2. User: barbara baer

    Posted on: 05/03/2019 at 5:19 pm

    “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orriger is a haunting, beautiful book, World War II, travels and life (in hiding, in danger) between Paris and Budapest, tremendous feeling for Hungary during that terrible period under SS.