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The Inflatable Buddha by Bernard Adams

The Inflatable Buddha by Bernard Adams

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Book review

Hungarian TV producer/presenter, documentary filmmaker and author András Kepes' first novel The Inflatable Buddha - originally published as Tövispuszta in 2011 in Hungary, where it has become a bestseller - has been translated from the Hungarian by Bernard Adams. The Inflatable Buddha is a warm, witty and poignant account of the lives of three boys from disparate cultural backgrounds, set against the dramatic backdrop of Hungary’s recent history. Pál, Isti and Dávid are closely connected, through shared roots in Tövispuszta, a fictitious settlement, and in the everyday joys and struggles of their respective families, relationships and careers. András Kepes’ narrative is at once realistic, intimate and universally appealing. It also offers an insightful overview of events in Hungary as they unfurl, as seen through the protagonists’ eyes – in a single lifetime, the country’s political and cultural landscape undergoes more challenges and changes to allegiance, geographical borders, beliefs and regimes than most other nations experience in their entire history. Some quotes about the novel in its original language: ‘This highly readable book traces the history of three Hungarian families over the last hundred years, and through their fate we learn of the tumultuous and fascinating history of fascist and communist totalitarianism in Hungary. Kepes’ prose is sharp, clear and entertaining and he writes with deep human understanding and great humor. The book certainly deserves to be a bestseller in English as it has been in Hungarian; it delivers a powerful and deeply engaging message about how ordinary people cope with extraordinary historical circumstances. Kepes’ book is a riveting page-turner, and as a multi-generational family saga it belongs in the finest traditions of this illustrious genre.‘ Joseph P. Forgas, April 2013 "András Kepes has created a rich and moving epic of his homeland in the 20th century. Known for his humor, incisive questioning, and insightful reportage, he has long been hailed as the most popular televison journalist and talk show host in Budapest. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of some of the most varied and extraordinary characters in a nation of dramatic contradictions, he has finally written an historical novel that is both personal and epic. Beginning with the friendship of three boys--an aristocrat, a peasant, and a Jew--he spins a spellbinding tale of the Hungarian experience through their children and grandchildren as they live through feudalism, fascism, war, Communism, revolution, emigration. Funny, intimate, tragic, it is a saga of realism and magic, in which a nation's heart-breaking history comes through with bittersweet poignancy. Kepes is a wondrous storyteller, marvellous in revealing the variety and depth of the soul. A fine novel, a breathtaking adventure." Steven Kovacs, March 2013 “My mom bought this book for me for Christmas. She bought it in October or November but she read so many good reviews of it that she decided to read it before giving it to me. And then she gave it to my granddad. And then a family friend. And then my sister. And so on ... So I got a 'recycled' book for Christmas, but who cares! This book is so good, I just don't know what to say! It made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me remember all the stories I'd heard from my grandparents about what it was like during the war and Communism. And I recalled the little I remember of the last 10 years of Communism. I hope that an English translation is on the way so even more people can read it! Weirdly enough, I'd just started deciphering and transcribing my great granddad's diary (which covers most of the period Kepes writes about), and Kepes mentions people my great granddad knew as well! Freak out!” Marianna Pap's review on Goodreads 7 February 2012 – 5* - Hungarian Authors

Bernard Adams
Armadillo Central
Date of release


The Inflatable Buddha

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