Customer Reviews for

Prague

Average Rating 3
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A literary and geographic surprise.

Steal this book. Or buy it, or borrow it, or sit every evening in the library 'til closing time... but somehow read this book. That's my advice to all who read because they love the literary art form. If you read because it's a portable replacement for mindless telev...
Steal this book. Or buy it, or borrow it, or sit every evening in the library 'til closing time... but somehow read this book. That's my advice to all who read because they love the literary art form. If you read because it's a portable replacement for mindless television, please save yourself the agony of trying to get through this subtle, touching, and honest portrayal of ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances. And pay NO ATTENTION to the lazy reviewers whose crutch to success is to compare one writer's style to that of another writer. Arthur Phillips is NOT Ernest Hemingway or Henry James. It is a crass injustice to suggest his masterful crafting of words and sentiment into warm human images is in any way similar to Hemingway's sparse style. From its very premise to its final page, this book is an organic whole. The apparently misleading title (the book takes place entirely in Budapest) is one of its triumphs. It's as though Phillips understands (as I'm sure he does) that readers are looking for something shinier than what he has to offer in shabby, little Budapest... as though he recognizes (as I'm sure he does) that we're all looking for something shinier than what God has to offer in drab, little life. I cared deeply about his characters, even if most of them didn't seem to care very much for themselves. Their greatest gift in life was that they never made it to Prague.

posted by Anonymous on June 11, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Bookclub in MN Disappointed

This book was very disappointing despite all the wonderful reviews I've read. My book club usually has one or two people who don't finish the book, but this time not a single person read the entire book. I am not one to give up easy but this one was not enjoyable. It wa...
This book was very disappointing despite all the wonderful reviews I've read. My book club usually has one or two people who don't finish the book, but this time not a single person read the entire book. I am not one to give up easy but this one was not enjoyable. It was very hard to get into the story and there were so many characters and jumping around that it was impossible to keep track of what was going on. I would not recommend this book. It's very slow moving and uneventful.

posted by Anonymous on February 9, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2005

    A literary and geographic surprise.

    Steal this book. Or buy it, or borrow it, or sit every evening in the library 'til closing time... but somehow read this book. That's my advice to all who read because they love the literary art form. If you read because it's a portable replacement for mindless television, please save yourself the agony of trying to get through this subtle, touching, and honest portrayal of ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances. And pay NO ATTENTION to the lazy reviewers whose crutch to success is to compare one writer's style to that of another writer. Arthur Phillips is NOT Ernest Hemingway or Henry James. It is a crass injustice to suggest his masterful crafting of words and sentiment into warm human images is in any way similar to Hemingway's sparse style. From its very premise to its final page, this book is an organic whole. The apparently misleading title (the book takes place entirely in Budapest) is one of its triumphs. It's as though Phillips understands (as I'm sure he does) that readers are looking for something shinier than what he has to offer in shabby, little Budapest... as though he recognizes (as I'm sure he does) that we're all looking for something shinier than what God has to offer in drab, little life. I cared deeply about his characters, even if most of them didn't seem to care very much for themselves. Their greatest gift in life was that they never made it to Prague.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2005

    Bookclub in MN Disappointed

    This book was very disappointing despite all the wonderful reviews I've read. My book club usually has one or two people who don't finish the book, but this time not a single person read the entire book. I am not one to give up easy but this one was not enjoyable. It was very hard to get into the story and there were so many characters and jumping around that it was impossible to keep track of what was going on. I would not recommend this book. It's very slow moving and uneventful.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2012

    Don't bother

    Boring story, insipid, unsympathetic characters. I always finish a book I start. Almost. Not this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    Am nostalgic for the days that I was reading this book

    Though many of the reviews I have read of this book focus on the author's portrayal of the city of Budapest, Phillips must also be recognized for the way he writes characters. In these character portraits, his tone establishes a fine balance between seriousness and humor that perfectly conveys the complexity of the protagonists. Prague is an incredibly clever book. Its themes, particularly the main theme about the validity of desiring to live in a different time, is very astute and discerning. One does not find a book like Prague every day. I strongly reccomend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Prague, to this voracious reader falls flat. At first I thought

    Prague, to this voracious reader falls flat. At first I thought it was the small font, and my lack of being able to discern commas form period; the light was low. I picked it up the next day, determined to attempt a re-read, as I love Budapest and would love to read about this marvelous city. But after seventy pages I found the prose brittle and rather tedious. I cannot understand why all the wonderful reviews it has attained. Rarely have I ever ceased reading a book after the first chapter; but I did Prague. There seems to be little action and very little in the way of dialog to keep even this aggressive reader interested. The author has, in this case, bored me with his opaque prose, Harvard graduate or not. The only positive attribute about this book is that I borrowed it from my local public library, and therefore did not have to pay for Prague. Again, this is a review of a avid reader, who relishes good literature, but Prague disappoints. Maybe I will check-out one of his more recent works of fiction and find if Mr. Phillips has improved with age.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    Makes me nostalgic for Budapest

    Started very well. Beautifully crafted sentences. Got off-course, I think, with the secondary story of the publishing house, though I appreciate the understanding of Hungary's troubled history.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Prague

    I am still plodding through this story, determined to finish this book. I know there's a story in there, somewhere, but the author's prose and punctuation are very confusing. I was truly looking forward to reading this book because I thought there would be more history related events with the characters...but this is not to be. Maybe I'm just not able to see the picture the author is describing. There is way too much jumping from one character/event to another. But I am going to finish reading it, while my other summer reading books sit just waiting to take me away to their worlds....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2003

    Honestly the best book I've ever read

    Prague was intensely satisfying. Every single scrap and element of the book was interesting; and best of all, I was astounded by the sheer honesty of it. Of course! I thought. And Yes! and Me too! I read this book very slowly, savoring every word, making it last, not wanting to miss anything, and I was rewarded with a reading experience that changed my outlook on people. Which was exactly what this book was about, to me: people, and it reached me in a way that no book has reached me before. If there was anything I disliked about Prague, it was nothing more scathing than minor annoyance at what could be loosely interpreted as capitalist propoganda. Needless to say, that was extremely easy to forgive. I was able to see it as a tool used by the author to communicate the book's true message; an endeavor in which he was highly successful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    A journey into history

    If the author's aim was to present Budapest and it's sometimes magical sometimes depressing life, he succeded.As a native of Budapest,(although I have left the country by the time our heroes have arrived there) I have found the geographical descriptions surprisingly accurate. While the actual story of the five "heroes" left me rather cold, the real value of the book is the historical background of Imre Horvath's life. If one is interested in the past of the country and its people, this is a good opportunity to get an insight into the political and social turmoil of the last hundred-odd years ( Complementary to the recent film Sunshine). For this ( and this alone) I congratulate the author , and would recommend the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2002

    Perhaps the City of Prague Would Have Been Better

    Although the reviews paint this as a brilliant first novel, I found it difficult to keep reading. The sights and sounds of Budapest were vividly described; but the characters were cardboard characatures. Imre Horvath, a survivor of years of struggle in 20th century Hungary, is the only fully developed character. I kept reading, hoping that there would be more empathy and understanding from the expatriot Americans, but was left with a feeling that I had wasted my time. If you want to experience Budapest, you are better off reading a cheap travelogue.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    Prauge is great for confused teens

    I started reading this book end of Sophomore year and it cleared up so many things in my life. Reading about these five people all represent a part of your adlulthood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2002

    Like chalk flavoured pastry

    The book provides a number of colourful descriptions of the city that was also my domicile for 4 years. However, such attractive appearances, like many things in Budapest (the pastry, the cuisine, the storefronts, the women, the building facades) really just masks a deficiency of substance within.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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