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Extended Audio Sample Prague, by Arthur Phillips Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,253 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Arthur Phillips Narrator: Andy Paris Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2002 ISBN: 9781436147576
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In the early 1990s, five young American expatriates come to Budapest to seek their fortune—financial, romantic, and spiritual—in an exotic city newly opened to the West. They harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague, where the atmospheric decay of post–Cold War Europe is even more cinematically perfect, have it better. Still, they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making.

What they actually find is a deceptively beautiful place they often fail to understand. What does it mean to fret about your fledgling career when the man across the table was tortured by two different regimes? How does your short, uneventful life compare to the lives of those who actually resisted, fought, and died? What does your angst mean in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion?

Journalist John Price finds these questions impossible to answer yet impossible to avoid, though he tries to forget them in the din of Budapest’s nightclubs, in a romance with a secretive young diplomat, at the table of an elderly cocktail pianist, and in the moody company of a young man obsessed with nostalgia. Arriving in Budapest one spring day to pursue his elusive brother, John finds himself pursuing something else entirely, something he can’t quite put a name to, something that will draw him into stories much larger than himself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Arthur Phillips’s bold and ambitious novel, Prague, is one of those rare books that help define and identify a whole generation, in the same way that Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises introduced his lost generation.”

    Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

  • “A…remix of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, a meditation on a generation, a polemic, a love story, a new branch of sociology, Prague tries to do it all and succeeds.”

    Pagan Kennedy, author of Black Livingstone

  • “An intricate and wordly-wise novel, with sly and acute perceptions on every page, Prague sets itself the challenge of extending the tradition of brainy Central European fiction from an American perspective, and succeeds handily.”

    Philip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body

  • “[A] dazzling first novel…utterly original…This novel is so complete a distillation of its theme and characters that it leaves a reader wondering how on earth Phillips can follow it up.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Phillips’s exhilarating exploration of time, memory, and nostalgia brings to mind such giants as Proust and Joyce.”
                

    Library Journal

  • “Ingenious…Phillips presents his characters with a wry generosity and haunting poignancy to rival his wonderfully subversive wit.”

    New York Times

  • “Stop yearning for that elegant, entertaining novel that used to be. Thanks to Phillips, it’s right here, right now.”

    Newsweek

  • “Heartbreaking…A masterpiece of caustic satire.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Few first novels blaze with such all-knowing poise…Phillips is a wisecracking microbiologist of society and spirit.”

    People

  • Winner of the 2002 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction
  • One of the 2002 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A 2002 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2002 People Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2002 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle Howry | 2/6/2014

    " I read it in Budapest, which is surprisingly apt despite the title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 1/30/2014

    " Hilarious narrative about young expatriate hipsters in Prague, and the collision of worlds after the walls came down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/27/2014

    " This book was almost too well-written for its own good - in some passages, the author was almost playing with words to show off. The funny thing is that this book takes place completely in Budapest, and I went to Budapest within weeks of finishing it...so if you're off to Hungary, I would highly suggest this. I also got a kick out of one of the characters, Mark, who is a PhD student and likes to play around with colons in the titles of his works (not that I have ever written anything like that...okay, guilty). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Spencer Davis | 1/21/2014

    " Shockingly good. Arthur Phillips' prose is elegant and clever. From the first scene, describing five American expatriates in Budapest after the fall of Communism as they play a twisted game of lies and truth-telling called "Sincerity", it is clear that each of these characters is not quite what they seem. Phillips goes on to craft an expert first novel that is a tribute to the great expatriate writers of the Lost Generation without ever falling into the trap of becoming a cheap imitation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly Salyer | 1/17/2014

    " Not a bad story, or even poorly written, but for some reason it took me over 3 months to get through. and it doesn't even take place in Prague. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick b | 1/13/2014

    " A good book about a movement I missed by about 8 years. It was a great time to leave college, leave america and start over in a new eastern europe. I, like the Author, would have chosen Budapest---now that's a city. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Olga Rozhkova | 1/8/2014

    " Not bad, but didn't touch enough. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beáta | 1/7/2014

    " It's an interesting book about Budapest, around the change of regime (1990). It contains some strange parts that I don't like. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/4/2014

    " I've tried -- 3 times, I've tried. I give up. It wins. I just cannot finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meredith | 12/15/2013

    " Ugh. I'm sure I missed something here, but by the end of the book I did not care about or for a single character in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Couvillon | 11/25/2013

    " This book brought back great memories of my summer in Budapest. It was colorful and fun, but could've been shorter because it dragged a bit. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig Cottingham | 9/25/2013

    " #25 for 2009. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 9/1/2013

    " Slow going and less "clever" than Phillips' later novels, but I liked it well enough in the end, if only for the descriptions of Budapest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 5/9/2013

    " It took me several attempts to get into this book. I don't know why. That happens to me sometimes with certain books. Once I did get into it, the pay off was great. This is a story that grabs ahold and doesn't let go. Characters I will always remember. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shaun | 4/13/2013

    " I did not like this book. This is the second Arthur Phillips book I have read and I didn't much care for either book. I will not read any more Arthur Phillips books. Life is too short to read dumb and pointless books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 12/15/2012

    " This book was so terribly boring and overwritten that I could not finish it--and I very, very rarely stop a book halfway through. But my spare time is just too precious. Very disappointed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annie | 12/12/2012

    " Really liked the premise, but it became a little too unhinged towards the end. Also dragged on too long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 12/3/2012

    " Great for someone who lived in Hungary in the early 1990s. I loved all the references to the way of life I'm so familiar with...and miss. I did have a hard time staying engaged in the story, though, because it's so random. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kaci | 2/24/2012

    " Is hard to slog through. Has some interesting parts, but I've completely read 3 other books while also reading this one off and on. Not really holding my interest...hope to finish it someday though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Henry | 8/13/2011

    " Many characters from those years are recognizable. I wish Phillips had stuck around another year or two and woven together more of the oddness. I have trouble separating my views of the book from my desire to match memories with the text. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 7/14/2011

    " The next generation of ugly Americans makes it to Eastern Europe in the early 90s. While the book is highly entertaining and informative, Phillips makes the unfortunate mistake of seeming to celebrate rather than condemn, as Alex Garland did so ably in the Beach. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 louisa | 6/27/2011

    " The four stars are entirely earned by two slim sections of the book: Lone Wolf Aspirants and any and all things dealing with a failing but ingeniously sourced doctoral thesis on nostalgia. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zoyd | 6/3/2011

    " Eh, I think his writing is good but this book wasn't grabbing me. I have heard his other stuff is better "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 ehnonymus | 6/1/2011

    " i liked when it captured the feel of what it is like to be young and traveling through europe, meeting new people, drinking too much, and in general being ridiculous. but other than that, not so much did i love it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 5/14/2011

    " book actually about Budapest, I had hoped for a story about Prague. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Roma | 5/14/2011

    " 208 pages in, I give up. This was unbearable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kaci | 4/27/2011

    " Is hard to slog through. Has some interesting parts, but I've completely read 3 other books while also reading this one off and on. Not really holding my interest...hope to finish it someday though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meredith | 4/10/2011

    " Ugh. I'm sure I missed something here, but by the end of the book I did not care about or for a single character in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 3/24/2011

    " One of my new favorites among living authors. I liked this work a lot and could relate to the characters for the most part but often felt myself a little alienated by their dialogue. It often seemed a bit too rough and left me a little put off. Other than that is was a lot of fun and a great read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shaun | 2/24/2011

    " I did not like this book. This is the second Arthur Phillips book I have read and I didn't much care for either book. I will not read any more Arthur Phillips books. Life is too short to read dumb and pointless books. "

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