Dutch writer Jaap Scholten knows a good story when he hears one. In the early 1990s, when his Hungarian wife’s grandmother began telling him about life before communism, he was entranced. This was the beginning of the road to writing “Comrade Baron: A Journey Through the Vanishing World of the Transylvanian Aristocracy,” Scholten’s first work of non-fiction and the first to be published in English, launched May 5th.
“I have enjoyed this book so much – such a great tale, with brilliant original research and source material, and so many stories, tragic, humiliating, painful, yet all engrossing and highly readable” Petroc Trelawny, BBC presenter and journalist.
“This is a classic in the lines of Patrick Leigh-Fermor and it should be on the shelves of anyone interested in Mitteleuropa.” Norman Stone, Professor of Modern History, Oxford.
You can buy Comrade Baron: A Journey Through the Vanishing World of the Transylvanian Aristocracy here.
The launch event for the book, hosted by Petroc Trelawney will take place on Wednesday 4 May 2016 at 7pm at the Hungarian Cultural Centre, 10 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NA. Attendance at the event is free but booking is required on email@example.com.
You can read a long extract from the book in the Hungarian Review. The link is http://www.hungarianreview.com/article/comrade_baron_a_journey_through_the-vanishing_world_of_the_transylvanian_aristocracy
Looking forward to this.
If only I could attend! But I don’t live or work in London anymore, so won’t make it. I’m wondering whether Scholten includes the Banffys in Comrade Baron. I’m halfway through the final part of Banffy’s wonderful Transylvanian Trilogy, and reading as slowly as possible to savour every page. The preface has some typically evocative purple prose from Paddy; he captures the elegaic quality of Banffy’s writing in one phrase – “homesick for the past”. Paul: any report you can post here on the evening will be greatly appreciated.
I loved the Banffy books.They compelled me to go to Hungary. Shame he is isn’t lauded enough.Maybe time will change that and they will become slow burners? After all, when Melville tried to sell “Moby Dick” to publishers they laughed at him. History tells us the publishers that turned him down were fools.
I did reserve a place at the event in Covent Garden and will post you how it went.
best regards, Paul.
Went along to last night’s event in Covent Garden. The Hungarian ambassador gave a speech to a well attended book launch. Petroc Trelawney acted as anchor and question poser. Jaap Scholten read excerpts from the book and answered questions from the audience after the reading.
Glasses of wine after the talk were enjoyed as Mr Scholten mingled with the crowd and signed copies of what will be a very good read. Photographs of the event are posted on the Hungarian cultural centre facebook page. I was lucky enough to be photoed getting my book signed!
Maybe see you there