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Do you ever wish that you could be someone else? Just step out of your life and wake up as someone new? Karina's life was once mapped out for her - she was meant to follow in the footsteps of her Hungarian grandmother, a world-famous violinist. Instead, she's a teacher, a mum and wife to Julian, a very English husband who's not always in step with her. But when disaster befalls her best friend, Karina feels forced to question the very foundations of her existence. Encouraged by a chance encounter with a like-minded musician, she begins to delve into her grandmother's Gypsy past, and to discover the secrets of her Hungarian family history. Life will never be the same again. Like most people, Karina isn't sure the life she chose was the right one. But she is willing to take drastic steps to change it.
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'I suggest you give Hungarian Dances a whirl.' * <i>South China Morning Post</i> * 'Like a stuffed palacsinta pancake, Duchen's novel of music and memory bulges with fruity treats...' * <i>Independent</i> * 'This is a very well written study of the problem of being and having a child prodigy.... it's a gripping read and it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of wanting Alicia to succeed... I enjoyed this book a lot' * <i>Muso</i> on <i>Alicia's Gift</i> * 'Jessica Duchen writes about families, the arts and their sometimes devastating combination with such skill and passion that her books are unputdownable. It is very rarely that I find a new writer whose work I love so much.' * Katie Fforde * ''It really is difficult to put down . . . It's Duchen's compassionate human observations which carries her through . . .Those in the musical world will relish sentences such as 'orchestras are full of sheep eating shit'; those outside it will marvel at its fragility and volatility. And everyone will be encouraged to ponder just how far the search to 'find oneself' is selfish, unselfish or, impossibly and painfully, in a timeless dislocation somewhere between the two.' * <i>BBC Music Magazine</i> * 'Duchen skilfully balances the conventions of the genre with the authority of a writer who really knows her subject. ALICIA's GIFT is a wonderful read. But make sure you keep the Kleenex handy when you tackle it.' * <i>Music Teacher</i> on <i>Alicia's Gift</i> * 'A sensitive and thought-provoking novel that will resonate all the more for those with musical leanings.' * Femke Colborne, <i>MUSO</i> on RITES OF SPRING * 'Highly recommended' * <i>Classical Music Magazine</i> * 'The pages of Hungarian Dances just kept turning! Like all the best novels, it asks unexpected and compelling questions. It's a book for anyone with an interest in how history leaves its mark on people and how they in turn come to live with its scars.' * Martin Davies, author of <i>The Conjuror's Bird</i> * 'Adam and Sasha appear to have the perfect life - good jobs, a nice home, money and three perfect children. But as their marriage begins to unravel, their ballet-crazy daughter starts staving herself - and her parents are too preoccupied to notice. A haunting, heartbreaking novel.' * <i>Closer</i> on RITES OF SPRING * 'Jessica Duchen's debut novel is captivating, imaginative and fascinating. As a musician and a mother, I recognized many of the scenarios and found the questions that were posed very poignant, both from a musical and personal perspective. The pace builds powerfully to a dramatic and ultimately very moving conclusion. Completely gripping!' * Tasmin Little on RITES OF SPRING * 'After having read Rites of Spring, I am now equally thrilled by Hungarian Dances. Jessica Duchen is a very gifted storyteller; her characters are sensitively portrayed. She has observed "Hungarianness" very well indeed. And her understanding of the tragedy and sufferings of the Gypsy people - that is not just history, but very much a problem of our time - gives this book an even more profound meaning.' * Andrs Schiff *
Jessica Duchen was born in London and grew up with music and writing as twin passions. She writes for the Independent and has interviewed most of today's greatest musicians. HUNGARIAN DANCES is her third novel. Her other books include biographies of the composers Gabriel Faure and Erich Wolfgang Korngold and she has written several stage works and short stories. She lives in London with her violinist husband.