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Painting an unrivalled portrait of the vanished world of pre-1914 Hungary, this story is told through the eyes of two young Transylvanian cousins, Count Balint Ab dy and Count L szl˘ Gyeroffy. Shooting parties in great country houses, turbulent scenes in parliament, and the luxury of life in Budapest provide the backdrop for this gripping, prescient novel, forming a chilling indictment of upper-class frivolity and political folly, in which good manners cloak indifference and brutality. Ab dy becomes aware of the plight of a group of Romanian mountain peasants and champions their cause, while Gyeroffy dissipates his resources at the gaming tables, mirroring the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself. The first book in a trilogy published before World War II, it was rediscovered after the fall of Communism in Hungary and this edition contains a new foreword.
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Miklos Banffy (1873-1950) was variously a diplomat, MP and foreign minister in 1921/22 when he signed the peace treaty with the United States and obtained Hungary's admission to the League of Nations. He was responsible for organizing the last Habsburg coronation, that of King Karl in 1916. His famous Transylvanian Trilogy, They Were Counted, They Were Found Wanting, They Were Divided was first published in Budapest in the 1930s.Review:
'A genuine case of a rediscovered classic. The force of Banffy's enthusiasm produces an effect rather like that of the best Trollope novels - but coming from a past world that now seems excitingly exotic' - TLS 'Banffy is a born storyteller' - Patrick Leigh Fermor'A very romantic book set in Transylvania during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the First World war. It's full of balls and hunting parties, snow and politics. It's totally absorbing and I'm looking forward ti reading the next two books in the trilogy' - Martha Kearney (Newsnight BBC Two, The World at One Radio 4), My Six Best Books, Daily Express'One of the most celebrated and ambitious classics of Hungarian literature' - Jan Morris'This epic Hungarian novel, absorbing both for its exploration of human nature and its study of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire... weaves social and political themes into Banffy's powerful tale' - Daily Telegraph'A masterpiece. This very readable translation makes a wonderful book accessible to many more people' - New Statesman'My great find of the year is a reprint of the magnificent trilogy, set in pre-war Transylvania by Miklos Banffy...which stands comparison with the great Russian and French masters. Banffy vies with Tolstoy for sweep, Pasternak for romance and Tolstoy for evocation of nature; his fiction is packed with irresistible social detail and crammed with suberb characters: it is gloriously, addictively, compulsively readable' - Caroline Moor, Books of the Year, Seven
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