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Those Absent On the Great Hungarian Plain

Out Now!

Part history, part detective story, part personal memoir, Those Absent brings to life a cast of characters fitting for a Dickensian novel, deals with the fallibility of memory, the nature of prejudice and persecution, and the past as both history and fiction.

Dr Michael Talalay, Writer, Lecturer, Regents University London

A fascinating literary journey, and frank investigation of the region's daily life, its common beliefs and rarely mentioned truths. Highly recommended.

Mel Cederbaum, Executive Director, Toronto Workmen's Circle

Part memoir, part travelogue, part history, part elegy, this multi-layered homage to the Great Hungarian Plain embraces its majesty and tragedy at virtually the last possible moment.

Robin Roger, Psychotherapist, Writer, Reviewer

The long history of hatred toward the Jews combined with the exploitation and misery of the peasants have forged Hungarian identity. Jill Culiner's Central Europe is plagued by the same demons that led to the tragedies of the past century.

Dr Marcel Calvez, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Rennes, France

In a narrative of village life, coarse xenophobia and cruelty contrast with acceptance, friendship and laughter. The horror of the past is concealed, yet Culiner finds compassion in human failure.

Penny-Lynn Cookson, Art Historian, Writer

Those Absent On the Great Hungarian Plain


Print ISBN:

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Print Length:

332 Pages





Available in paperback and ebook

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A Hungarian village on the Great Plain: a microcosm reflecting this country's history from early tribal invasion to Soviet subordination to European Community membership. Here, peasants, herders, party girls, former Nazis and lapsed communists share gossip as well as love stories; and unscrupulous leaders, totalitarian or freely elected, decide behaviour.

Like a fly in amber, this is a moment captured of a time and a place under peaceful upheaval. The old ways are vanishing. But what is being lost and what is remaining only slowly comes clear.

Celebrated photographer and author, Jill Culiner, spends years of her life there, chronicling these changes, learning the language and buying property. She is as committed as any. She weaves her own story with the story of that community and the history of living on the edge of the Great Hungarian Plain.

It's a raw story, honestly told, of a people crisscrossed with violence and hatreds, loves and escapes.

There remains one constant: hatred of the long-vanished rural Jew.

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