This novel is an extraordinary story about an unforgettable woman – a story that took place in the Budapest of the 1940s, full of glamour as well as mortal dangers. In chapters alternating between the past and the present – the grey, boring and eventless Budapest of the 1970s – the author tells the story of Baby Vadnai, a beautiful, rich and fashionable young woman, and the investigations of Dobrovich, a budding writer and member of a ‘tribe’ of young intellectuals in Communist Hungary. Dobrovich and a friend, Doxa, the legendary loiterer, madman and visionary of the ‘tribe,’ suspect they might be brothers, and Dobrovich starts to make investigations about their father. A story of passionate love and hate unfolds, with the milieu of Budapest in the 1940s – the siege of Budapest, the persecution of Jews and the glittering social life of the high classes – in the background. Baby Vadnai is a historical novel in which both wartime and Communist Budapest are powerfully evoked.
Not many writers are better placed to describe the atmosphere of the 1970s than Géza Bereményi, author of the lyrics of Tamás Cseh, the signature singer of that era. The hopeless boredom of the 1970s when any action seemed pointless is contrasted to the remarkable story of Baby Vadnai and his admirers and lovers – a story which speaks with demonic power about the irrationality of love, about desire transformed into burning hate, and which also shows mercilessly how people act in wartime. As the adult sons are searching for a mother and a father, they also shed light on how we repeat, in our character and choices, the fate of our ancestors. This pulsing and exciting novel, much of which is based on reality, gives fascinating answers to these questions and others.
A love story in wartime Budapest as seen from the bleak 1970s
ISBN 978 963 14 3122 3
2013, hard cover with jacket
296 pages, 123 × 184 mm
Excerpt on hlo.hu