Friday, July 30, 2010


Csardas is a traditional Hungarian folk dance. With this title, Diane Pearson has written a historical fiction set mainly in Hungary, between 1914 - 1948, before the First World War until after the Second World War, focused on the life of the Ferenc family. The book is enjoyable to read and gives good image what happened in Hungary around those times.

Amalia and Eva are "the enchanting Ferenc sisters" and they have many suitors (it reminds me of Vivien Leigh's Scarlett in Gone With The Wind). They have a rich Jewish banker as a father, a silly mother, two younger brothers, and a plain but very rich cousin named Kati. The story begins when the Ferenc sisters go to Kati's birthday party without chaperon. There, Amalia meets her first love, a soldier from a poor family, and this relationship will prove to be difficult. Eva, the most beautiful of the two, falls in love with her handsome neighbour Felix, a gay and easygoing young man.

Interesting to follow the life of this half-Jewish family and people around them. The first world war comes and they have a hope that they will win. However, in the end of the war, men - those who are fortunate to come back - have changed. Many of them have endless nightmares. Political situation changes, too, and government comes and goes. Some people lose their land, and those who has hoped that Hungary will be an ideal place to live, must bury their dreams. However bad the WW1 is, the 2nd is even worse, especially if one is a Jew. Until the ending, Amalia never finds her lost sons.

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