They Were Divided
A Hungarian classic and winner of the 2002 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, They Were Divided reflects the rapidly disintegrating course of events in central Europe on the eve of WWI. In the foreground, it tells the story of Balint and his flawed cousin, Laszlo Gyeroffy, told with humour and bittersweet nostalgia for a paradise lost through folly. In the background, the sinister and fast-moving events in the Balkans eventually not only lead to a horrific war, but also to the complete dismemberment of their once-great country.
‘This epic Hungarian novel, absorbing both for its exploration of human nature and its study of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire … weaves social and political themes into Bánffy’s powerful tale’ Daily Telegraph
‘A genuine case of a rediscovered classic. The force of Bánffy’s enthusiasm produced an effect rather like that of the best Trollope novels – but coming from a past world that now seems excitingly exotic’ TLS
‘Fascinating. He writes about his quirky border lairds and squires and the high misty forest ridges and valleys of Transylvania with something of the ache that Czeslaw Milosz brings to the contemplation of his lost Eden’ W. L. Webb, Guardian
‘A huge, historical, romantic novel [with] good story-telling, solid historical background and enjoyable drama’ Library Journal