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Ann Bridge was a very fine writer. She lived in embassies in several countries. Her grasp of the politics mixes with an unusual grasp of the people and natural world of these countries. Each of her pictures of Hungary, Albania, China and the other countries she lived in is a delight in the story and a learning experience done in a clever fictional situation. The narrator of this story does it no favor. A poor reader, with several mispronunciations, she sounds even more naive than the heroine should. Too bad because the story is much stronger than she creates.
A moving story, superbly written, with such vivid portrayal of Hungary and of Budapest in 1940-41, under the German preventive invasion of Hungary, already visited in Bridge's previous story. A labour of love, her drawing "a tutto tondo"of the main characters and her still quite good impressionistic sketches of the support characters.
I admire her exceptional understanding of the social and political setting, and her ability to turn what in realistic terms must have been a tragedy into a drama with a relatively happy ending, and a softening of the atrocious reality of perquisitions and interrogations by the Gestapo police.
The only insupportable thing is the horrible diction of the reader.
She cannot even follow punctuation correctly, pausing at random, interrupting the flow of narration; it puts one in mind of a tap under excessive pressure, spurting violent jets of fluid, rather than a continuous flow of water, and to top it all, she cannot pronounce even foreign words which have been long accepted in the English Language, let alone French or Italian or German ones, (I don't know about Hungarian ones), nor well known foreign personal names. It's surprising, withe the linguistic tools available to anyone today, that any reader, would not take the care to get information about the proper pronounciation of words in any language, and there is nothing more distracting and detracting from the pleasure of listening to a story, than hearing familiar names mispronounced
If you have an opportunity, I suggest you redo the audio book with someone else.