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Just didn't grab me
on 14 May 2012
I have to say that I struggled through the first forty or so pages - the writing style and plot seemed to me to be unnecessarily over-blown. I stuck with it though. I quite liked the device of revealing the past through the annual holidays spent in Hungary. There are some very good passages of descriptive writing but for me there was simply too much of this, to the point where the quality of the writing became submerged. I felt also that I was being spoon-fed and there was little left to the imagination and intelligence of the reader - there wasn't enough room. The writing certainly evokes an image of a Hungarian summer but this is then repeated endlessly and as a result, for me at least, lost its impact. Perhaps some judicious editing would have improved matters. You know right from the beginning that something happens in the seventh summer and I had been picturing what the great reveal would be, including several potential scenarios. Unfortunately it took so long to get there that I was just relieved.
I have to confess, too, that I didn't really warm to most of the characters, in particular the two female protagonists, Erzsi and Marika, although I found the characters of Erzsi's father and the artist Zoltan to be more compelling, perhaps because they are less fully described. I didn't believe in the character Tamas, ostensibly Erszi's boyfriend - there was no substance to him.
Its not a bad book by any means, and I wouldn't be averse to reading further novels by the same author, it's just that this one didn't grab me.