The Paper Bridge: A Return to Budapest, By Monica Porter

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The Independent Culture

Paper is the great tool any writer must use to build bridges, and the bridges Monica Porter must build are many and complex. Chief among them is one between her chosen life in London and her cultural heritage from that historically beleaguered nation at the meeting point of east and west, Hungary.

This informative and evocative book about the author's journey back to her homeland, after fleeing with her family to the US as a small child, was first published in 1981 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution; this new edition arrives with a foreword by the former diplomat, Sir Bryan Cartledge. It is a poignant story of burning as well as building bridges, in political and personal realms. But the most encouraging feature of 21st-century Hungary is its young people, Porter finds.

"How boring!" Margaret Thatcher exclaimed when Cartledge declared his wish to be named ambassador to Hungary. This fascinating book enthusiastically dismantles any such prejudice.