Hungarian Dances and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hungarian Dances Paperback – 24 Jul 2008

20 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£4.99 £0.01

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (24 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340933585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340933589
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 576,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Enthralling...Jessica writes with an unpredictable and original voice and a dazzling perceptiveness" JOANNA LUMLEY on SONGS OF TRIUMPHANT LOVE.

Jessica is a versatile wordsmith with a musical bias. Her output includes novels, biographies, plays, words&music projects, poetry for musical setting, music journalism and more. Her writing regularly appears in The Independent, BBC Music Magazine and Opera News, among other publications, and her music blog "JDCMB",, has attracted more than 1.5m readers.

Jessica and her musician colleagues are performing concert versions of her novels HUNGARIAN DANCES and ALICIA'S GIFT through 2013 and her plays respectively about Wagner and Messiaen are due for more performances. Please see EVENTS list below, or visit for full listings.

Her novels focus on the cross-currents between family generations, with music a recurring theme. All are now additionally available in e-book format.

Jessica's biographies of the composers Gabriel Fauré and Erich Wolfgang Korngold for Phaidon's 20th Century Composers series have met with wide acclaim.

Watch an extract from BBC TV's SACRED MUSIC series in which Jessica talks about Fauré's Requiem:

Product Description


'After having read Rites of Spring, I am now equally thrilled by Hungarian Dances. Jessica Duchen is a very gifted storyteller; her characters are sensitively portrayed. She has observed "Hungarianness" very well indeed. And her understanding of the tragedy and sufferings of the Gypsy people - that is not just history, but very much a problem of our time - gives this book an even more profound meaning.' (Andrs Schiff)

'Jessica Duchen's debut novel is captivating, imaginative and fascinating. As a musician and a mother, I recognized many of the scenarios and found the questions that were posed very poignant, both from a musical and personal perspective. The pace builds powerfully to a dramatic and ultimately very moving conclusion. Completely gripping!' (Tasmin Little on RITES OF SPRING)

'Adam and Sasha appear to have the perfect life - good jobs, a nice home, money and three perfect children. But as their marriage begins to unravel, their ballet-crazy daughter starts staving herself - and her parents are too preoccupied to notice. A haunting, heartbreaking novel.' (Closer on RITES OF SPRING)

'The pages of Hungarian Dances just kept turning! Like all the best

novels, it asks unexpected and compelling questions. It's a book for

anyone with an interest in how history leaves its mark on people and how

they in turn come to live with its scars.'

(Martin Davies, author of The Conjuror's Bird)

'Highly recommended' (Classical Music Magazine)

'A sensitive and thought-provoking novel that will resonate all the more for those with musical leanings.' (Femke Colborne, MUSO on RITES OF SPRING)

'Duchen skilfully balances the conventions of the genre with the authority of a writer who really knows her subject. ALICIA's GIFT is a wonderful read. But make sure you keep the Kleenex handy when you tackle it.' (Music Teacher on Alicia's Gift)

''It really is difficult to put down . . . It's Duchen's compassionate human observations which carries her through . . .Those in the musical world will relish sentences such as 'orchestras are full of sheep eating shit'; those outside it will marvel at its fragility and volatility. And everyone will be encouraged to ponder just how far the search to 'find oneself' is selfish, unselfish or, impossibly and painfully, in a timeless dislocation somewhere between the two.' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Jessica Duchen writes about families, the arts and their sometimes devastating combination with such skill and passion that her books are unputdownable. It is very rarely that I find a new writer whose work I love so much.' (Katie Fforde)

'This is a very well written study of the problem of being and having a child prodigy.... it's a gripping read and it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of wanting Alicia to succeed... I enjoyed this book a lot' (Muso on Alicia's Gift)

'Like a stuffed palacsinta pancake, Duchen's novel of music and memory bulges with fruity treats...' (Independent)

'I suggest you give Hungarian Dances a whirl.' (South China Morning Post)

Book Description

The thoughtful and compelling issues-based third novel from an author who has already gained a loyal fanbase. HUNGARIAN DANCES is a love story, a mystery and a tale of extraordinary personal transformation.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Marriott on 10 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Hungarian Dances is a marvellous, intelligent, thought-provoking meditation upon the human condition; it explores the themes of identity, whether national or sexual, of the possibilities of love, of betrayal, and of the deep meaning of music, whilst carrying you along on a beautifully-crafted story that is utterly absorbing. It may be a cliché to say "I couldn't put this book down", but in my case it is a quite literal statement of fact. I read it throughout the night despite having several urgent matters to attend to and desperately needing my sleep! (Warning: clear your diary before picking this up!)

This is a wonderfully-written book; nothing in the prose jarred, nothing was extraneous. Don't let the slightly girly cover put you off - this is seriously good literature. As a professional opera singer, I am used to hurling any books which mention classical music at the wall in irritation; this one, with its accurate portrayals of the frustrations, disappointments, and sublime joys of music-making, resonated strongly in my soul.

If you like your novels to make you think, without being overtly pushed to do so, this is not to be missed. Glorious!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Numero Uno on 23 April 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this a most exciting and gratifying book for the plot as well as for its treatment of two passions of mine: music and Budapest. Jessica Duchen is well known as a writer on music and as a very successful novelist. She also has one of the best-run blogs on the net: you will find a lot about this book there, including photos of places in Budapest described in the book. You can also make the acquaintance of her cat Solti!
Like all good communicators, Jessica Duchen wears her learning lightly and writes in a limpid, flowing style which makes one want to keep reading. She manages to keep several plots going at once without ever losing the reader and always judges perfectly the right moment to move on so as to maintain suspense.
She has a vivid eye for detail and one easily empathizes with the characters: the scene in the run-down Budapest café where the gypsy father of Mimi, whom she wants to invite to her concert at the Liszt Academy, refuses furiously from the humiliation he feels at being dirty and unwashed and therefore unworthy of going to such a place is quite heartbreaking.
This book could be classed as "popular fiction", "a good read", "a real page-turner" but I think this would be to underestimate such a well-crafted and profound novel. Highly recommended. A paperback version is now available.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MF on 5 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This story gripped from the first page to the last. Although the central family in the story is Hungarian and musical, you don't need to be either to get totally caught up in their story as tumultous events, personal and political, overtake them. The narrative sweeps you along at a cracking pace that never lets up despite ranging back and forth between past and present. Jessica Duchen has created a hugely rich and appealing tapestry of characters, and her deftly interwoven sub-plots are filled with astute observations and wry insights about relationships and human behaviour. If the sign of a good book is that you don't want it to end, I was utterly bereft when it had finished.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 21 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jessica Dutchen has written her best book yet, the story of Karina, a violinist, mother, wife and lover, and the chasms in her life and background - an immigrants' child married to Julian from the manor, her parents Denes and Erszebet fleeing oppression and their own country, her grandmother Mimi a brilliant violinist from the despised Roma - that only love and music can even hope to cross.

Some books will open your eyes to another world - this one is even more generous. The story takes us from the inequities of pre-war Budapest, the glitter of war-time New York, and the brutalities of post-war communist Hungary to a London train crash and the cynical dynamics of 21st century public transport policy.

Reading it the first time, I just wanted to keep turning the pages because I was so involved with the characters and the story. Re-reading the last few chapters to write this, I found myself sucked in once again, but more able to appreciate how the story works as well as it does because it too leaps these chasms, and takes us with it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lady Dahrendorf on 5 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Jesssica Duchen's third novel is an enchanting read. The characters are so vibrant and touching, they became friends I was sorry to part with. She has an extraordinary capacity to make distant times and places come alive. I was fascinated by the glimpse of Hungarian gypsy life before the war as well as Hungary during the post-war years, what people are capable of when they have a little power. There is also the theme of exile and transformation. But the heart of the novel is very much set in England, an interwoven story of four generations including the predicaments of modern marriage, told with the author's characteristic wry humour and compassionate wisdom. "We're the sum total of our own stories", one character says - but when these stories are half-truths told to ourselves and others, they cast a spell on the present - and this is partly what the novel is about, an unveiling process that enables new possibilities. It's wonderful!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Look for similar items by category