Synopses & Reviews
Not just one of Brazil's most influential and beloved composers and musicians, Chico Buarque has won high praise as a poet, playwright, and novelist. Now with Budapest, his third novel, he offers a darkly comic social satire and a transcontinental love story of sex, violence, and comedy. Brazilian ghostwriter Jose Costa has just attended the Anonymous Writers Congress in Istanbul and is on his way back to Rio when a technical problem with his Lufthansa flight forces him to spend a night in Budapest. Fascinated by the Hungarian language, he falls under the sway of Kriska, an apparent teacher of the language. After misadventures in Hungary that include a round of Russian roulette with a couple of gypsies, he returns to Rio to find that his wife has vanished and the entire country is reading a book that he ghostwrote. Has his wife run off with the author? Costa manages to forget Copacabana and the samba in order to immerse himself in the Hungarian language and nights in Budapest. Chico Buarque's novel coils around the reader like a magical snake from the Arabian Nights-and recalls Borges and Calvino in its literary playfulness.
"In an age of borders, Chico Buarque's masterpiece Budapest dissolves frontiers, creating an odd new world, where everything is being constantly reborn: words, writing, language, loss, and, above all, love. . . . I can think of no contemporary English language novel as joyful, daring, and innovative-nor as great a pleasure to read." -Richard Flanagan, author of Gould's Book of Fish "Budapest is a deeply beautiful book, and a masterpiece of narrative deftness. . . . It is a novel wise about many things-migration, language, culture, human nature-but its compassion is its greatest wisdom." -Anne Michaels "Chico Buarque has crossed a chasm with his writing, and arrived at the other side. To the side where one finds work executed with mastery . . . something new has happened in Brazil with this book." -José Saramago "Budapest is a labyrinth of mirrors whose resolution comes, not in the plot, but in the words, like in poems." -Caetano Veloso