Friday, February 26, 2010

What I'm Reading

Charles Moores, in this January Telegraph piece, reviews the Hungarian writer Miklos Banffy's Transylvanian Trilogy. The wunderkind Andrew Cusack put me on the scent, and I've been enjoying the lengthy Banffy for several weeks now. His three-volume work, inevitably described as Tolstoyan by Moore, is a romp through Hapsburg Austro-Hungary as it neared the conflict that would dismember the ancient empire. Banffy's trilogy is an apt portrait of the vices of the aristocratic elites, Hungarian and Austrian alike, who were charged with the upkeep and well-being of the Hapsburg realms. His description of the wasted nights, playing at cards, whoring, and drinking, are mitigated by the presence of a few noble souls, who attempt to staunch the bleeding and suffering of the Empire's lesser subjects. 

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