Prague by Arthur Phillips
A Novel

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BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Arthur Phillips's The Tragedy of Arthur, The Song Is You, The Egyptologist, and Angelica.

A first novel of startling scope and ambition, Prague depicts an intentionally lost Lost Generation as it follows five American expats who come to Budapest in the early 1990s to seek their fortune—financial, romantic, and spiritual—in an exotic city newly opened to the West. They harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague, where the atmospheric decay of post–Cold War Europe is even more cinematically perfect, have it better. Still, they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making. What they actually find is a deceptively beautiful place that they often fail to understand. What does it mean to fret about your fledgling career when the man across the table was tortured by two different regimes? How does your short, uneventful life compare to the lives of those who actually resisted, fought, and died? What does your angst mean in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion?

Journalist John Price finds these questions impossible to answer yet impossible to avoid, though he tries to forget them in the din of Budapest’ s nightclubs, in a romance with a secretive young diplomat, at the table of an elderly cocktail pianist, and in the moody company of a young man obsessed with nostalgia. Arriving in Budapest one spring day to pursue his elusive brother, John finds himself pursuing something else entirely, something he can’t quite put a name to, something that will draw him into stories much larger than himself.

With humor, intelligence, masterly prose, and profound affection for both Budapest and his own characters, Arthur Phillips not only captures his contemporaries but also brilliantly renders the Hungary of past and present: the generations of failed revolutionaries and lyric poets, opportunists and profiteers, heroes and storytellers.

About Arthur Phillips

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Arthur Phillips is the internationally bestselling author of The Song Is You, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best novels of the year by The Washington Post; Angelica; The Egyptologist; and Prague, which was also a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
Published September 17, 2002 by Random House. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The Guardian

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Likewise, a couple of older characters - the grand old man at the helm of the publishing company and a stylish lady who plays jazz piano - are granted some complexity, though in the end this comes to little more than an equivocation as to whether they should be regarded as heroes of the authentic...

Mar 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Prague: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Everything about this dazzling first novel is utterly original, including the title: it's about a group of young American (and one Canadian) expatriates living in Budapest in 1990, just after the Communist empire has collapsed, and the point of "Prague" is that it's the place everyone would rathe...

Apr 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Prague: A Novel

Star Tribune

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Jun 22 2002 | Read Full Review of Prague: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

That's where real life is going on right now, not here.'' Price's friends include a scholar expanding his dissertation on the history of nostalgia, a venture capitalist scheming to resurrect a venerable publishing house, and an ancient Hungarian woman who reels off droll tales of totalitarian hor...

Jun 28 2002 | Read Full Review of Prague: A Novel

Austin Chronicle

by Arthur Phillips Random House, 373pp., $24.95 Near the top of page five in Arthur Phillips' first novel, Prague, the author is suddenly seized at the throat by the irresistible urge to lay his cards on the table.

Jul 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Prague: A Novel

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