Official Review: The Budapest Job by Alice Spigelman

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kdstrack
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Official Review: The Budapest Job by Alice Spigelman

Post by kdstrack » 28 Feb 2019, 01:07

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Budapest Job" by Alice Spigelman.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Budapest Job by Alice Spigelman is a political thriller published under the genre of C/T/M/H. The author sets the story in Hungary, in 1989, after the fall of communism. Tom Gaspar arrives in Budapest with two goals. He plans to help his company construct apartment buildings, and he needs to find out how his father died.

Hungary is opening up to the West, and the Harwood Company wants to buy properties and begin development of modest apartment buildings. Ernst Kovacs, Tom’s boss, sends Tom to Budapest to initiate plans for the construction of these apartment buildings. At the same time, Tom is anxious to find information about his father's apparent death by a heart attack. His Hungarian partner, Peter Lantos, convinces Tom to participate in a ceremony for the reburial of Imre Nagy in Heroes’ Square. The list of the martyrs includes the name of Tom's father.

Tom needs to know if his father was a true martyr or if he was a monster who did terrible things with the approval of the Communist Party. He met Krisztina Urbán at the library in Miskolc, the town where his parents met and were married. She helped Tom obtain the secret service file for his father. This first document led Tom to Margit Havas. She supplied Tom with a newspaper photo of his father and also the execution order for his death. When Tom viewed the execution order, his whole world collapsed. He now had concrete evidence of his father’s death. Who signed this order? Will Tom be able to avenge his father’s death? Does he want to, or should he leave it in the past?

I loved the historical information included in this book. I also enjoyed the author’s ability to interweave historical facts with the moral dilemma of the people. Readers empathize with the anger, distrust, and sorrow of a people who have lived under Communist oppression for many decades. Can there be justice with so many dead and the same people still in charge of the government, just under different names? The reader must decide.

The only thing that I disliked about the book was the lack of quotation marks. There is no indication of direct speech throughout the entire text. All conversations flow directly into narrative sections and vice versa.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The author writes compellingly about a time and place in history that she knows well. The struggles of a people who survived the fall of their government and hope for positive change in their country lead the reader to reflect on the final results of socialist and communist-led regimes. Readers of historical fiction will find a wealth of names and facts weaved into the story. History teachers might find this book valuable for its historical value and the debate created about the viability of different types of government. Readers who have no interest in politics or history might find this text too weighty for their liking.

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The Budapest Job
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Post by Cecilia_L » 02 Mar 2019, 09:05

This sounds like a really engaging read. However, the quotation mark issue would drive me nuts! Great review, though.

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Post by kdstrack » 02 Mar 2019, 09:30

Cecilia_L wrote:
02 Mar 2019, 09:05
This sounds like a really engaging read. However, the quotation mark issue would drive me nuts! Great review, though.
I loved her writing style and all the history she is so obviously familiar with that she included in the book. The quotation marks were a challenge! Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2019, 10:08

This sounds unique. I know little about Budapest, and I don't read many books that talk about communism. The historical information would be interesting. The lack of quotation marks, though? Odd...
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
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Post by kdstrack » 04 Mar 2019, 22:11

kandscreeley wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 10:08
This sounds unique. I know little about Budapest, and I don't read many books that talk about communism. The historical information would be interesting. The lack of quotation marks, though? Odd...
I was totally enthralled by this writer. I really enjoyed her ability to get you into the mind of the people, what they had lived through and the different reactions people had to an authoritarian government. It was interesting and enlightening. I would have been willing to give it more than a four!

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Post by unamilagra » 04 Mar 2019, 22:23

I love reading historical fictions about places and times that I have very little knowledge of, and 1980s Hungary definitely falls into that category. I love that this writing style is great too. I will have to keep this one in mind!

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Post by kdstrack » 04 Mar 2019, 22:28

unamilagra wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 22:23
I love reading historical fictions about places and times that I have very little knowledge of, and 1980s Hungary definitely falls into that category. I love that this writing style is great too. I will have to keep this one in mind!
You will enjoy this author. She definitely fulfills everything you are looking for in a novel. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!

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Post by nooregano » 05 Mar 2019, 04:15

I don't know much about Budapest, but I love reading about different places/cultures/times and for this reason the book seems like it would be interesting. However, I don't know if the overwhelming amount of details would put me off - I'm not sure if I enjoy that level of depth into exploration. This was a great review, thank you! Have a great day!! :D
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Post by kdstrack » 05 Mar 2019, 07:02

nooregano wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 04:15
I don't know much about Budapest, but I love reading about different places/cultures/times and for this reason the book seems like it would be interesting. However, I don't know if the overwhelming amount of details would put me off - I'm not sure if I enjoy that level of depth into exploration. This was a great review, thank you! Have a great day!! :D
An author who knows the setting and the historical facts well can make history interesting. This author brings historical facts into the fictional story. You will learn about Budapest as you follow the conflict and resolution of the main character. It's a great way to learn/refresh your history facts! Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by Beatus » 12 Mar 2019, 16:21

A very interesting story to read. Engaging and thrilling. I love the way the protagonist is positioned mentally and wmotionally as to wheather he is to avenge his father's death or leave it in the past. Good review.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Mar 2019, 22:41

Beatus wrote:
12 Mar 2019, 16:21
A very interesting story to read. Engaging and thrilling. I love the way the protagonist is positioned mentally and wmotionally as to wheather he is to avenge his father's death or leave it in the past. Good review.
This is his struggle and I think you might be surprised by his final decision! Hope you enjoy the book! Thanks for commenting.

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Post by Kelyn » 13 Mar 2019, 22:28

Sounds like historical fiction mixed with a mystery. I have to wonder how the protagonist solves the moral/ethical dilemma of whether or not to avenge his father's death. That would be so difficult, learning that your father had been assassinated. I want to know what else he found out in that file! Thanks for the review, I would never have found this book without it!!
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Post by kdstrack » 13 Mar 2019, 23:53

Kelyn wrote:
13 Mar 2019, 22:28
Sounds like historical fiction mixed with a mystery. I have to wonder how the protagonist solves the moral/ethical dilemma of whether or not to avenge his father's death. That would be so difficult, learning that your father had been assassinated. I want to know what else he found out in that file! Thanks for the review, I would never have found this book without it!!
I loved this story and the author's writing style. She is so familiar with the setting and the historical facts that the story just flows off the page. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for commenting.

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Post by chiefsimplex » 14 Mar 2019, 17:33

For a political thriller ,a communist background really sets the mood.I think i would enjoy enjoy the story as critical features around the mystery unfold.Still to see the rationale behind his strong feelings for revenge :shock: .Thanks for a great review
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Post by Miriam Molina » 14 Mar 2019, 18:46

Communism has such lofty ideals, but the implementation usually achieves the opposite. The Golden Rule is all we need.

I can feel your enthusiasm for this story. That's high praise, considering the absence of quotation marks. Would that be symbolic of the Communist era when people were not allowed to speak freely?

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