Read advance reader review of Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener, page 3 of 4

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Strangers in Budapest

by Jessica Keener

Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener X
Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2018
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 24 member reviews
for Strangers in Budapest
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  • Laurie F. (Brookline, MA)

    Mixed Feelings
    Most of the time while reading this book I was enthralled and turning page after page. Yet there were other times where I tired of Annie's guilt-filled flashbacks and indecisiveness regarding her relationship with Edward. Descriptions of Budapest and its history were interesting as were the characters' connections to its troubled past. Ending was somewhat predictable.
  • Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)

    Story not enough to carry characters
    While the plot is intriguing and the journey to Budapest is made real for the reader, the characters fall flat. It's hard to care about the rest of the book when you can't connect with the characters. It's as if the only thing that was really vivid was their shortcomings.
  • Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)

    I Kept Reading
    I kept reading this book although the story & characters never became real to me. Some depth was missing. It was stereotypical in its outlook & had too many coincidences to be fully believable. I never had feelings for any of the characters & while I enjoyed the city's descriptions that also lacked the vision of Budapest I so enjoyed on my visit there. I was disappointed but kept reading to the end in the hope that this book would finally turn into a rich story - it did have some potential.
  • Carolyn S. (Decatur, GA)

    Strangers in Budapest
    Strangers in Budapest finds an American couple running away from their past. They find some unlikely people to make fiends with. I didn't think the author really achieved getting a sense of city that she puts in her title.
  • Myrna M. (Chapel Hill, NC)

    Trouble in Budapest
    An old man travels to Budapest to seek justice or revenge for the death of his daughter. A fortyish man leaves security in America and goes to Budapest to join a cast of entrepreneurs seeing to cash in on a potentially new economy; his wife's family misfortunes propel her actions. A young man flees his fuzzy past to build a new life in Budapest. There is lots of foreshadowing as to how these paths will cross. Budapest is the star of this novel, a city downtrodden, its people glum, little hope in their lives, yearning for American dollars. Throw in a few historical facts, a sweet adopted child, and poverty-stricken Roma children for contrast—the Romas a side story that goes nowhere-- and you have this novel. The dialogue is a bit stilted at times and the old man's inner meanderings are repetitive, a device that could give emphasis to his mental condition, but which becomes irritating after the third or fourth repetition. A promising story with too many psychological clichés. I would have rated this "fair" if that option were available. I would not recommend it for our senior community library.
  • Jane B. (Chicago, IL)

    No real mystery here
    Strangers in Budapest should have been titled Annie in Budapest because all things connect with Annie. No characters are particularly developed, not even Annie. Repeating descriptions or feelings do not expand the reader's knowledge of a character. Annie wanted to find out something about herself by living in Budapest and what she found out was that she is most comfortable at home in the USA. However the story does contain nice descriptions of sites around Budapest with interesting historical tidbits. Michael Jackson's appearance was an odd note and could have been omitted. Perplexed by Annie's desire to fit in to Hungarian culture and her running about town in jogging shorts and running shoes. In other European countries in the 90s, this costume was frowned upon if worn in city streets and not in the proper place which would have been a gym or sports club.
  • Gail H. (Mayo, FL)

    Great Setting, Disappointing Characters
    The premise and setting for Jessica Keener's novel are so intriguing.. With the collapse of the Soviet domination of eastern Europe, there were all sorts of opportunities for savvy minded entrepreneurs from the west. Having visited Budapest a few years before the 1995 setting of this novel, I was eager to read Keener's perception of this bridge period in history. Her setting rang true but none of the characters came to life in this novel. Annie was unhappy and whiny and seemed to delegate much of the rearing of her long awaited adopted son to her Hungarian babysitter. Her husband, Will, did make the effort to become moderately fluent in Hungarian, but seemed to leap into the opportunity to start his own business in Budapest without much foresight. The elderly man whom Annie befriended, Edward, was obsessed and irrational about his daughter's death and Annie showed very poor judgement by believing him. I wish that the author had fleshed out the characters' motivations a bit more than she did because the setting and place of this novel are fascinating.

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