Mary (St Paul MN)
Valerie's Last Stand
I enjoyed this book very much. It was especially fun to have main characters be strong, colorful, and over sixty! Some of the events in the story become a little bizarre, but it all seems to fit together. The jacket of the book talks about this story being a fairy tale, so I knew it would be fanciful. The people and the setting - a small Hungarian village make for a wonderful story with lots of action, warmth and humor. I look forward to Marc Fitten's next book.
Helen (Petaluma CA)
A Very Sharp Eye
Marc Fitten has indeed a very sharp eye. He tells his story, which is about a very small village in Hungary with amazing, colorful, precise vision. This story is mostly about senior citizens of which I am one. Marc describes us perfectly. It is about the everyday life in this village .... people's hopes and dreams, fears and joys. Like all good tales, it can be taken far beyond this village. Valeria is honest .. she has nothing to lose ... she goes for it. All artists will love the potter and know his needs.The journey is wild, robust and heartwarming. I recommend it for all, but the over 60 set will smile the widest.
Patricia (Bryson City NC)
A Whale in a Puddle
It's almost impossible to believe that this wonderful little gem of a book is a first novel by a young writer. The characters are vibrant, alive, and the reader cares about them; the story is ever-changing and holds the interest; and all's well that ends well, as they say! As a retired editor (and having once been engaged to a Serb) I could find no fault, except that it is too short! Quickly, where is the next one, Marc?
Jane (San Diego CA)
A folktale for the modern age.
Marc Fitten's first novel, Valeria's Last Stand, is a delightfully crafted tale of love, disillusionment, betrayal, greed, corruption, and friendship in a small village in Hungary. It's a small village in Hungary, but we can all see ourselves in Fitten's characters. Full of symbolism and simple humanity, this is a lovely and satisfying refuge in the midst of today's complexity. A simple, warm, and wonderful read.
Barbara (Roswell GA)
An enjoyable read!
For the first 20 pages of this book, I thought,"Oh, no, this book is going to be horrible. I can't believe I have to an ARC review on it!" But, the book got much better, and I enjoyed it!
The book has some central themes that are presented in an entertaining manner: the transition from a communist/socialist society to a capitalist society; the older generation's feelings about the end of their golden age; corrupt politics - presented in a fable/fairy tale style. Valeria, the crusty old woman, grows on you. The potter is a wonderful character. And Ibolya, the tavern owner, is quintessential in her role. In some ways, this book reminded me of Joanne Harris' Chocolat. The author has said he envisions this as the first book in a trilogy that will explore "how three generations of people were affected by the major shift in the late 1980s." After reading Valeria's Last Stand, I will look forward to reading the next two installments when they are published.
Susan (Fairfield CT)
This love story has an unexpected romantic couple and is written very much like a Hungarian folk tale. Some of the characters are not named and referred to only by their occupation: the potter, the mayor, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and its cast of zany characters. I highly recommend it.
Priscilla (Marietta GA)
An entertaining and delightful read. Fitten has brought to life an interesting assortment of zany and all too human characters. I kept thinking Alexander Mccall Smith with a PG rating.
I did feel it bogged down some toward the end, but perhaps that is my lack of testosterone! Even among the "bog" there were scenes well worth the wade.
I would recommend this book. It is not War and Peace, but still worth your time.