- Paperback: 287 pages
- Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (2 Nov. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099415720
- ISBN-13: 978-0099415725
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,511,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Refer To New Isbn 0099415720 (The Balkan Trilogy) Paperback – 2 Nov 2000
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|Paperback, 2 Nov 2000||
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The most considerable of our women novelists. Anthony Burgess" "The most considerable of our women novelists." --Anthony Burgess
Guy and Harriet, newly married, arrive in Bucharest in the autumn of 1939. Guy throws himself unstintingly into life in a new city, while Harriet, struggling to adjust to married life, finds life in Bucharest less straightforward than she thought.See all Product description
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This is the first in a book which introduces us to the characters and places that populate the trilogy. From ‘poor old Yaki’ who yearns constantly for a life now gone, to Guy’s boss, Professor Inchcape, to Guy’s colleague Clarence Lawson, whose company Harriet accepts when her own husband is too busy, to the scheming Sophie, who attempted to marry Guy for a British passport, to the journalists who cluster round the bars and cafes listening to rumours. For it is the phoney war and rumours abound about the possibility of the Germans invading. The English expats reassure themselves that the weather is too bad, that the Germans have other priorities, that the war will be soon be over. Meanwhile, the British Information Bureau (run by Inchcape) and the German Information Bureau delight in attempting to outdo each other with maps and window displays to create the illusion that they are winning. At this time, though, the Germans are certainly looking much stronger. As Guy throws all his time and energy into organising a play, Harriet is unable to refuse reality. At the end of this volume, Paris falls and England stands alone. The next book in the trilogy is, “The Spoilt City” and I look forward to reading on and finding out what happens to Harriet and Guy.
However there is no real action or drama, just a set of characters wandering around the city listening and contributing to the rumour mill, plus some uncompelling political intrigue. Most of the characters are unattractive, even Guy Pringle the hero who insists on putting on Troilus and Cressida while Paris falls to the Nazis. Yakimov's story becomes tedious after a while and there is a long list of minor characters from the British bureau or Council that are difficult to remember as many of them seem quite vapid and self absorbed. I won't be reading the rest of the trilogy in a hurry.
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