Strangers in Budapest

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Dec 2017

Member Reviews

I loved this book because it brought back feelings of my life as an expat, approximately around the same time as when this book took place, but in another city. I did travel to Budapest several years before this book was set and it was like going back in time. The story was suspenseful and cathartic at the same time. Highly recommended for anyone who has lived away from home or has met unsavory characters abroad. Reminiscent of The Talents Mr. Ripley.
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One of my favorite things about fiction set in varied locations is the inspiration it provides for me to research the actual place; sadly, I find no such inspiration #StrangersinBudapest by Jessica Keener. I feel that I know as little about Budapest after reading the book as I did before reading the book. That combined with characters I find myself unable to invest in make this not the book for me. 

See my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/01/strangers-in-budapest.html 

Reviewed for #NetGalley
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Usually, being worldly and having traveled to other locations is a good thing. It allows you to learn more about other cultures, absorb history outside of textbooks, and expand your horizons. However, there are times when having traveled has its drawbacks, like when what you know from firsthand experience does not mirror what authors put into their novels. Not only does it ruin the reading experience for you, it sets a somewhat dangerous precedent for future readers as they will go on to assume the author has done his or her due diligence and is a subject matter expert. This is where I find myself upon reading Jessica Keener's Strangers in Budapest.

Set in 1995 Budapest, the story is...

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A haunting novel of history and suspense, in which the city of Budapest becomes a central character in the unfolding mystery between a young couple and an older man with a complex past. The setting was lovely and the plot was interesting, but I found the characters lacking somewhat in depth. An enjoyable read regardless.
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In this slow-paced thriller an American couple starting a business in Budapest meet an elderly man hunting the son-in-law he believes murdered his daughter.

Strangers in Budapest (Digital galley, Algonquin Books) is part travelogue and part mystery. But the combination doesn't work as odd Wikipedia-sounding entries disguised as narrative pop into the story. (Children who live in Budapest have a 10 percent higher chance of developing asthma than those living in the countryside.)

The story by Jessica Keener unfolds at too slow a pace and seems to circle back on itself, with the characters doing things that don't move the plot forward. Unfortunately it was difficult to become...

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This book was okay. The premise was intriguing but I found the protagonist, Annie, irritating and the ending was far too predictable. The plot plodded along so it took me longer to finish than I had hoped. It wasn’t my favorite.
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This was on the verge of being interesting but I felt it was a bit repetitive and could have done with some editing. I also expected a bigger mystery - the climax at the end was over before it started and we were left with more questions than answers. The premise was interesting as was the setting of Budapest in the 90s. It was very atmospheric but something was missing - maybe more backstory? The history/backstory as it was told was one-sided and so we didn't get another perspective, which would have really elevated this book. I hope you have better luck with it - it definitely had some good parts even if it was a little boring, unexplained and repetitive.

Strangers in Budapest...

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I'm giving this book 3 stars. I have to say overall I was disappointed~ I think the main reason is the lack of character development. They are all flat. Really no substance to them, and anything they did seemed as though they couldn't give any forethought to what they were about to do. We follow the lives of Annie and Will, who have made the decision to move to Hungary so that Will can pursue possible lucrative work options. At the point we meet them, eight months after their move, not much has happened as far as work and career success. Are they bored? Possibly. They receive a seemingly odd message from their former neighbour back home in Massachussetts to check up on an...

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Will and Annie and their newly adopted son moved to Budapest after the fall of Communism and the departure of the Russians. Will hoped to set up cell phone service in the country. Annie wanted to leave the prying eyes of an invasive Massachusetts social worker assigned to the adoption. However after 8 months in the city, Will was still trying to get approvals for his venture and Annie was getting bored of their life as ex pats.

So when a neighbor from their old town in the US asked them to look in on an old friend, Annie and Will made the trip across town to the old man’s apartment. There they found Edward, a Jewish World War II veteran, who seemed to be struggling to survive in the hot...

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Best read as a novel about American expats trying to make a new life in 1990s Budapest,  Keener, regrettably, added an odd revenge tale to the story of Annie and Will, who are having a tough go.  Edward is convinced his son in law murdered his daughter and is determined to make him pay.  This part of the story, where Anne goes all in, didn't work for me,  Interesting concept but stupid on her part and frankly, Edward didn't impress me as someone to go to the wall for.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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A beautifully written story of a young couple and their child's escape to Budapest to try and leave their past but  they realize there is no escaping who you are.
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So, yeah. This is a little awkward.

This review is of Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener. Full disclosure: I received this eARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. (Thanks NetGalley!)

So, fair and honest it will be.

I didn’t like this book very much. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. I see that others liked it quite a bit and I respect that and I’m not going to trash it, but I just didn’t like it very much at all. I’m not someone who goes to a restaurant looking for things to nitpik. I want to be pleased. I just wasn’t.

To work on the positive side, the book did eventually work itself up to a dramatic conclusion which was good to read.

Beyond that, though, I just...

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I was first drawn to this book by the idea of an American couple along with their infant son moving to Budapest right after the fall of the communist regime. That story alone would have led me to read this book, but then you also throw in an elderly World War II veteran who saved countless Hungarian Jews from Nazi camps that is in Budapest for mysterious reasons and I knew I had to read this book.

Annie and Will along with their newly adopted infant son move to Budapest in 1995. Will is trying to start a company that will help the citizens of Budapest. The couple soon find that things move very slowly in Budapest and that the leaders of cities say things they don't mean and move on...

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The book’s premise, the descriptions of the landscape, and the insights into the culture of Hungary are all engaging. The scene of plot resolution is intense and effective. There were just too many inconsistencies in the writing quality and sections that felt drawn out unnecessarily for the book to go beyond mediocre for me.
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What a great premise and setting but, sadly, so badly done.  There was nothing literary about this, either. The main character was dense and overwrought and the prose repetitious enough that I nearly didn’t finish it.  My own stubbornness and the question of how the author was going to tie everything up were the only things that keep me going but again I was disappointed in the mishandling of an interesting concept. A lot of the writing felt like filler and felt distant, though conversely the husband was one of the most one-dimensional characters I’ve read this year.  I wish the author had invested as much in her characters as she did in the setting.
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Budapest right After the war,changing adjusting to a new atmosphere characters that pop off the pages.I was drawn right in a thriller very well written,very literary,
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Strangers in Budapest is an atmospheric look into how our pasts shape us and how our choices affect others. Keener deftly depicts life for expatriates, Will and Annie, who are trying to incorporate themselves into the business world of Budapest in the 1990s. Things go awry when their friends stateside ask them to check in on the elderly man who is using their apartment in Budapest. Edward, a Jewish-American who faught in World War II, is in Budapest seeking answers about his daughter’s death. As the two stories begin to converge, the characters reflect on the choices that lead them where they are and what those choices mean for their futures.
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Will and Annie might be at loose ends in Budapest, but the elderly man they check on during a heatwave has no questions about what he is in the city to do in Jessica Keener’s Strangers in Budapest. Will and Annie are in the city to try and get Will’s cell phone business up and running. Unfortunately, Will keeps hitting dead ends. Meanwhile, Annie only has her jogging and intermittent parenting to occupy her. But Edward Weiss, the elderly man they meet one hot day, is in the city for vengeance. I’ll be blunt. This little summary makes the book sound a lot more interesting than it actually is. I was frequently frustrated with the way the plot fails to progress in any meaningful way for most...

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"Strangers in Budapest" blossomed with potential. Within its pages, a story of two strangers unfolds with all of their shared grief, disappointment, and hurt - not to mention the mysterious and storied Eastern European setting. However, from the beginning, I slowly trudged along, chapter by chapter longing for the ending to come. The action unraveled slowly without much to support its delay; the first real twist didn't come until I was around two-thirds of the way through. By that point, my curiosity was long gone.

My interest piqued, however, whenever adoption was mentioned. Annie and Will, the main characters, adopted their son from birth before leaving the U.S. for...

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