Valeria's Last Stand

Valeria's Last Stand

3.27 (594 ratings by Goodreads)
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In sixty-eight years, Valeria has never minced her words. Harrumphing through her isolated little village deep in the Hungarian steppes, she clutches her shopping basket like a battering ram and leaves nothing uncriticised - flaccid vegetables at the market; idle farmers carousing in Ibolya's Nonstop Tavern; that gauche chimpanzee of a mayor and his flashy, leggy wife; people who whistle. But one day, her spinster's heart is struck by an unlikely arrow: the village potter, with his decisive hands and solid gaze. Valeria finds herself suddenly dressing in florals and touching her hair, and what's more, smiling at people in the street. The potter makes her the most beautiful vase she has ever seen. The farmers buy a celebratory round. The problem with all this is that Ibolya (herself at least fifty-eight) has been romancing the potter for months and vows to win him back. And then there's Ferenc, the sugar beet farmer, red-headed and married but all the same hopelessly in love with Ibolya. Meanwhile the mayor has his own problems, mostly involving foreign investors and a non-existent railway.
And then a roving chimney sweep arrives in the village, to make a quick buck and bring some good luck - or perhaps bad luck; no one can really decide. All anyone knows is, there's never been such a hullabaloo, which just goes to show it's never too late to try something new.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 29mm | 408g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0747598703
  • 9780747598701

Review quote

'Marc Fitten has fashioned a sweet-as-pie novel out of the comings and goings of geriatric busybodies in a backwater Hungarian village it's the low-intensity nature of the characters' conflicts and triumphs that gives Fitten's book its fairy-tale charm' TimeOut 'Subtle and brilliant, Valeria's Last Stand is a thoughtful, skillfully drawn portrait of one woman, one village, and one country. Marc Fitten is a writer to watch' Gary Shteyngart 'Evoking Gogol, Kundera, and Garcia Marquez, with a touch of Fellini for good measure, Fitten concocts a shrewdly farcical tale of the endless battle between change and tradition' Booklist 'A symbolic rendering of the benefits and drawbacks of switching from a socialist to a market economy harrowing and spectacular [Fitten's] deep understanding of human qualities that transcend[s] national origins and political agendas Valeria's Last Stand is a timely and necessary cultural contribution' Los Angeles Times
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About Marc Fitten

Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn in 1974 and lived in Hungary from 1993 through 1998. He has been published in several American literary quarterlies and publications, including Prairie Schooner and Esquire online.He is the editor of the Chattahoochee Review and of the Red Hen Press Literary Translation Series. Valeria's Last Stand is his first novel and will be published in six countries. Marc Fitten lives in Atlanta
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Rating details

594 ratings
3.27 out of 5 stars
5 15% (87)
4 27% (161)
3 36% (213)
2 16% (94)
1 7% (39)
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