A comic romp celebrating late-flowering love in a Hungarian village that will appeal to readers of Absurdistan, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.
Valeria is a whale in a puddle. She harrumphs her daily way through her backwater Hungarian village, finding equal fault with the new, the old, the foreign, and the familiar. Her decades of universal contempt have turned her into a touchstone of her little communitywhatever she scorns the least must be the best, after all. But, on a day like any other, her spinster's heart is struck by an unlikely arrow: the village potter, long known and little noticed, captures her fancy, and Valeria finds herself suddenly cast in a role she never expected to play. This one deviation from character, this one loose thread, is all it takes for the delicately woven fabric of village life to unravel. And, for the first time in a long time, Valeria couldnt care less. With humor and sensitivity, author Marc Fitten delivers an unexpected and entirely inspiring first novel that will leave you begging for more.
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"Fitten is not always successful in balancing character development with the larger themes of power and progress, but the irascible Valeria makes such a unique heroine that readers may be willing to overlook the story's less fluid elements." - Publishers Weekly
"Enjoyable and poignant, this work is recommended." - Library Journal
"Fitten populates his fairy tale of a novel with bitter-coated sugarplums of characters; they will definitely win a place in your heart, even as theyd never stoop to asking for one. In a Hungarian village so small as to be nearly outside of historythe Germans, the Soviets, the capitalists, no one bothers to stop in this hamletthese sprites still manage to cheat, love, hate, drink, and make pottery for one another with a level of passion were more accustomed to associating with the very engines of expanding or decaying empires. A beautiful debut." - Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"A thoughtful, skillfully drawn portrait of one woman, one village, and one country." - Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook
"Marc Fittens excellent new novel has much to recommend itwisdom, warmth, humorbut it is his creation of the title character herself that is his and the novels most remarkable achievement. Valeria is every bit as sensual and irrepressible as Chaucer's Wife of Bath, and she will linger in any readers mind long after the last page is turned." - Ron Rash, author of Serena
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Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn in 1974 to Panamanian parents. He spent much of the 1990s living and traveling in Europe, based in Hungary. He's been published in Prairie Schooner, the Louisville Review, and the Hogtown Creek Review, and has published a napkin online at Esquire. Marc is a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University and received the Paul Bowles Fellowship for Fiction. He is currently the editor of the Chattahoochee Review
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