From Rio to Budapest with Chico Buarque

“Budapest” is the third  novel of Chico Buarque (2003) and also a movie directed by Walter Carvalho

Exile is a recurrent theme in Buarque’s life and work. Budapest is the story of José Costa, a writer who finds himself stranded in the Hungarian capital when a bomb scare grounds his plane. Written in Buarque’s deceptively spare prose, the book is extraordinary for its observations on language, foreignness and love. ‘It should be against the law to mock someone who tries his luck in a foreign language,’ begins Costa’s journey in a strange land. He embarks upon an affair with a woman who mocks him for his poor sentence construction in a language famously described as the devil’s tongue. With thoughts of Rio never far from Costa’s mind, the story meanders like the unfolding of consciousness.  What emerges is a humorous and philosophical take on the experience of being abroad. The freedom of seeing the world through new eyes, like a child, is matched by the frustration of being faced with an impenetrable wall of sound. Can anyone escape their mother tongue any more than they can shake their past?

Extract from The Observer , Jemima Hunt, Sunday 18 July 2004

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3 thoughts on “From Rio to Budapest with Chico Buarque

  1. Reblogged this on Délibáb and commented:
    I will share this post written by Meagalopilisnow, but later I will write again about this book. There is something about it that is linked to my history and how I end up in Budapest!

  2. I loved this book and it was one of the most important in my life. It is linked somehow to the fact I am living in Budapest, but I will tell this story later. The film I don´t reccomend. I think the director brought too much fantasy to the the theme and lost the track from the original. Specially the part when the anonymous writer is alive. On the other hand, it is good to see some parts of the city on the scree!
    If you want to see a little more about Hungary and the city in old times, I reccomend you to watch Sunshine (see my post about it) and also a documentary called Feedom´s Fury wich tells the hitory about the Olympic games in 1956, same year of the Hungarian revollution and when the national water polo team made a semi final match against the Russians, only few days after the final invasion and establishment of the government of Janos Kádar.

    • Actually I’m trying to read it in Portugues, but I’m a begginner, maybe it’s better firstly in italian.Next step in portuguese, sure! I’m here from some months for the erasmus program and I love this city, it’s so fascinating.

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