Untitled Novel by Julie Orringer - Julie Orringer NO SPOILERS

I absolutely LOVE this book! Put it at the top of your pile of books to read. Order it at the library NOW or buy it. You will not regret this purchase! Me, I wish I had bought a prettier edition. This book never lags and it is 600pages long. Lots happens, the plot is chock full with this and that. Me, I don't usually go for plot driven books, but this book has everything. History is so wonderfully interwoven into the primary characters' lives that the history book facts take on a personal dimension. You learn about what happened in Hungary before, during and immediately after WW2. You see, hear and smell Paris and Budapest. You learn about architectural names and theories. You learn about ballet in Hungary during this time period. Even though the writing is plot oriented it also sometimes focuses on the philosophical. What else? It felt authentic. What happened felt very real. The momentum builds and builds and you simply cannot put the book down. Even though much of what happens is horrendous, the book does not leave the reader feeling sad and without hope. There is humor. This book deserves all the hype that currently surrounds it! What a surprise! I loved it. Maude, you are the one who pushed me to read this book - THANK YOU!!!!!! I must pay attention when you tell me to read a book.

On page 367: Here is just one example of lines that get me thinking. Why am I so different?! To the question of whether perhaps a couple should emigrate to the US, the reply is:

“It is almost impossible to get an entry visa now. Even if we could I am not certain I’d want to. Our families are here. I can’t imagine leaving my mother again, particularly now. And it is hard to imagine starting another life in a strange country.”

So many people think this way. Why don’t I? Although such a move IS very difficult it is also exciting and wonderful. I love learning about another culture. The best way to do that is to plop yourself down into that foreign place. Family relationships are strong enough to allow one to do this. You will always love each other, and correspondence is possible and then when you return there is so much to share.

Through page 356: I am STILL enjoying myself. This author knows how to tell a story. You are captivated; you want to know how each character is going to deal with what destiny throws at them! Secondly, ideas are expressed and they get you thinking….. The reader cannot help but ask himself what he would do in such a situation. Thirdly the description of cities is fantastic. You feel as though you are there too! You experience Paris and Budapest and I don’t yet what other cities will be added! Finally there is an abundance of interesting information about architecture, history, dance….. to name but a few topics! How has the author collected such a wide span of ingredients? She seems to really KNOW each subject well. And lastly it is funny sometimes what she dreams up for these characters to do. They print a newspaper, but to know what is in this paper you have to read the book. It is just too funny! You laugh and you cry and you hold your breath. It all seems believable!

Through page 45: This book is like sinking into a cozy armchair and then into a whole other world. Pure enjoyment! You don't even have to make a list of character names b/c you are given enticing character descriptions that you cannot confuse or forget. Back to the book, back to Andras and Paris and the Quartier Latin!

Through page 30: I opened this book with trepidation – it is almost 600 pages long, a big hunker of a book. It has gotten rave reviews, but will I like it?! It is about the three Jewish Hungarian Lévi brothers and their paths across Europe through WW2. The eldest, Tibor, remains currently in Budapest awaiting a scholarship so he can begin medical studies in Modena, Italy. The youngest brother, Mátyás, remains at his studies in Debrecen, outside Budapest. Andras, the middle brother, is off to study architecture at the Ecole Spéciale on a scholarship. Already Andras has received a mysterious letter to deliver to a Monsieur C. Morgenstern on rue de Sévigné in Paris and has met Zóltan Novak who runs the theatre Sara-Bernhardt, also in Paris. At the moment Andras only wishes he had paid more attention during his two years studying French. Well, he has arrived in Paris. Paris is picturesquely described, its people, its streets and the high ceiling apartments adorned with ornate caste-iron balconies and zinc mansards.

"…he ventured out into the Quartier Latin and the artfully dishevelled students …." (page 27)

"…he wrapped the orange silk scarf around his neck again and put on a loose jacket of smoke-colored wool." (page 27)

"To get to school he had to pass the Jardin du Luxembourg, past the elaborate Palais, past the fountain and the flowerbeds teeming with large snapdragons and marigolds. Children sailed elegant miniature boats in the fountain…..There were green benches and close-clipped limes, a carousel with painted horses….Andras walked down the rue de Vaugirard, with its art-supply shops and narrow cafés and secondhand bookstores, then down the wide boulevard Raspail with its stately apartment buildings. Already he felt a little more Parisian than he had when he first arrived. He had his apartment key on a cord around his neck, a copy of l'Oeuvre under his arm: He had knotted his scarf the way Józséf Hász had knotted his, and he wore the strap of his leather bag slung diagonally across his chest, in the manner of the students of the Latin Quarter." (page 30)

What one would see in Paris and the Parisians themselves are brought to life by the author's words. Also well described is the mounting political tension, prior to WW2. It is now 1937.