Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,573 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Perhaps Brazil’s most influential and beloved composer and musician, Chico Buarque is also a highly praised poet, playwright, and novelist. In Budapest, Buarque introduces the story of a ghostwriter who immerses himself in the Hungarian language. José Costa lives in Rio de Janeiro. Fated to remain in the shadows of his illustrious clients, Costa breaks free of this fate an...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 8th 2005 by Grove Press (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,244)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jun 07, 2008 Georgia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David Sasaki
On the recommendation of our Portuguese language editor, several of us at Global Voices have been reading Budapest ahead of our trip to the eponymous city for our annual summit. I'll confess that in spite of being a huge fan of Chico Buarque's music, I wasn't aware that he was also a novelist, and one of considerable talent.

A meditation on the pleasures and pains of writing, of foreignness, of learning a foreign language and the maddening complexities of that thing called love, Budapest follows...more
Lorenzo Berardi
What an Italian reading the English translation of a book written in Portuguese and by a Brazilian author pretending to be the ghost writer of a German guy and dedicated to the study of the Hungarian language is up to?

Writing a few impressions on "Budapest" by Chico Buarque.

This novel caught me by surprise. Of course I knew that Mr Buarque has talent, being considered one of the finest interpreters of bossanova today. A man, this Chico, who gets a high consideration...more
Una gran confusione, in due parole ecco ciò che mi ha trasmesso il libro. I temi trattati sono molteplici: per primo la tematica del doppio, che mi ha fatto pensare a Pessoa, essendo il protagonista, Joao Costa, un ghost writer brasiliano, uno scrittore che scrive romanzi di cui assume la paternità qualcun altro. Joao Costa è sposato con Vanda, che ha una gemella. Joao Costa per caso passa una notte a Budapest, a causa di uno scalo aereo forzato mentre sta tornando a casa dalla Turchia, da un co...more
It was Chico Buarque's first sentence; "It should be against the law to mock someone who tries his luck in a foreign language," that really sucked me in. As a language learner, I know all too well the life-sucking frustration and humiliation that comes with being mocked for your efforts. It is with this honesty and candor that "Budapest," written in prose, layers the story of a Brazillian "ghost writer," José Costa. As a "ghost writer," this native of São Paulo is employed by an agency to namele...more
Sep 20, 2010 Reginacm rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Reginacm by: Maar Manso
Shelves: 2010, novel, brazil, hungary
Célia Loureiro
«Budapeste: no exacto momento em que termina, transforma-se em poesia». Foi isto que li na badana do «Leite Derramado» a propósito do Budapeste e que me deixou de expectativas tão altas. Em consequência de ter lido um livro de autor brasileiro, estou novamente escrevendo a crítica nessa língua transatlântica. Devia ser proibido debochar de quem se aventura em língua estrangeira. Como eu adoro aventuras por língua estrangeira, e conheço bem os seus triunfos e embaraços, achei sublime esta primeir...more
Na verdade uma releitura, coisa que raramente faço, pois há "tanto livro para ler e tão pouco tempo para o fazer"...

"Permaneci imóvel, deixando-a pensar o que quisesse, e esperei que me cuspisse na boca e me arranhasse a cara, depois me enfiasse aquelas unhas nos olhos e os arrancasse das órbitas, eu tudo suportaria. Kriska porém não ergueu as mãos, preferiu não me tocar. Respirou fundo, abriu a boca para falar alguma coisa, e senti que, com uma só palavra Krika me cobriria de vergonha, me aleij...more
There is an essay I plan to write in guise of book review which touches on ghostwriting, mili vanilli, hip-hop, Indian letter writing, fake steve jobs, and the alleged blog of a Caribbean head of state. If I never get to that essay, which is likely, then yes, I liked this book and I recommend it. If you read only the first half and become skeptical of recommendation, you should read on.
Um romance muito bom. A linguagem como objecto de uma história. Muitas vezes fez-me lembrar "Lost in Translation". A incomodidade dos lapsos de linguagem, dos encontros e desencontros da língua, como parte integrante da relação.

Muito bom!
J.J. Ward
This is an easy, intelligent story, written in the first person. It’s only 183 pages long, printed in a reasonably large font, so probably more of a novella than a novel. Anyway, it didn’t outstay its welcome. Any longer, and it might have done.

The narrator is a ghost-writer. On his way back from a conference in Istanbul, he’s forced to make a stop-off in Budapest. After wards, he goes back to Brazil, and we learn of his relationship with Vanda, whom he marries, and with whom he has a son. But h...more
Paulo Coutinho
Muito bom! Foi a minha primeira incursão pela obra do Chico Buarque e a ela voltarei em breve.
I really wanted to love this book. It's about a Brazilian ghost writer who falls in love with the Hungarian language. Hungarian was my first language and I speak it fluently, though not as well as a native speaker. It's a difficult language, and I am always fascinated by people who actually choose to learn it. But Jose Costa left his wife and son due to his obsession, and used his knowledge of the language to hurt people. He wasn't a nice person, he made some very bad choices, and I felt disappo...more
José Costa é um escritor anónimo pago para produzir artigos de jornal, discursos políticos, cartas de amor, monografias e autobiografias romanceadas que outros assinam. Um dia, regressado de um congresso anónimo de escritores anónimos em Istambul, é obrigado a fazer uma escala forçada em Budapeste. Fascinado pela língua magiar, José Costa retorna à capital húngara, passando a ser Zsoze Kósta, e tornando-se amante de Kriska, a sua professora. A obsessão de dominar completamente o novo idioma, lev...more
Eu poderia, mas não vou atribuir exclusivamente meu deleite com Budapeste ao fato de eu também estar às voltas com o aprendizado de uma língua estrangeira. Na história, José Costa, um ghost-writer que escreve textos sob encomenda para qualquer circunstância, a partir de um rascunho ou uma entrevista breve com o interessado, vai parar na capital da Hungria e se vê desafiado a aprender o idioma magiar. Sei exatamente o que ele, quando em terras húngaras, quer dizer com vocabulário pobre e imprecis...more
To learn a foreign language, especially one so different from English as Hungarian, takes a certain leap of faith, a willingness to participate in a mode of expression that appears to have been rearranged and, in many cases, dissected and reassembled. It takes a similar leap of faith to enjoy Buarque’s novel, in which stories unpack themselves like Chinese boxes, and realities and narratives are constantly shape-shifting, challenging and undermining whatever presumptions the reader has already a...more
Isabel Maia
José Costa é um ghost-writer, alguém que escreve um texto (um artigo de jornal, um livro, um discurso, um trabalho académico, etc.) que depois vai ser assinado por outra pessoa. O fascínio de José por Budapeste e pelo magiar começa quando é forçado a fazer uma escala na cidade no regresso de um congresso de ghost-writers na Turquia. E é esse mesmo fascínio que o leva a viver uma louca vida dupla, ora no Rio de Janeiro com Vanda e o filho Joaquim, ora em Budapeste com Kriska e o filho Pisti, no s...more
Carl Brush
Chico Buarque appears to be one of those renaissance men of the arts--a singer, composer, songwriter, poet, playwright, and novelist. Budapest is, a novel about identity, communication, creation, confusion, and love. I’m perhaps meant to be visiting Hungary soon, since I liked Aruthur Phillips’ Prague (See my 7/6/07 blog Prague--a City in Hungary?), which despite the title, actually took place in Budapest. At any rate, the main character of Budapest, Jos Costa, is a best-selling ghost writer. T...more
Oct 08, 2012 Vicky rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Melinda, maybe; Davis, definitely
Recommended to Vicky by: same translator of Clarice Lispector's book, it's in Bp, it's by Grove Press
José Costa is a successful ghostwriter, married to a newscaster, has a son, lives in Rio de Janeiro, but while on a business trip somewhere, he finds himself in Budapest after a bomb threat on his plane leads to a security delay thing. From there, he checks into a hotel, wanders around, and one thing leads to another which reminds me of Haruki Murakami's protagonists, how José is taken advantage of by a young couple but he goes along with it, doesn't seem to mind even when they follow him back t...more
Tom Mayer
Aug 12, 2007 Tom Mayer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like good translated fiction
My friend Alex brought this book from a literary festival in South America. Apparently Chico Buarque is an enormous pop star in Brazil; it would be, he said, as if Justin Timberlake wrote a novel... and it turned out to be pretty damn good. BUDAPEST is the story of a ghost writer, a man who has written in the voice of politicians, of famous novelists. He even goes to the international ghostwriters conference where a novel he ghostwrote for a mysterious German businessman receives worldwide recog...more
Muito bem escrito, com um estilo cheio de melodia gostoso de ler. A história é interessante: as idas e vindas do José Costa entre o Rio de Janeiro e Budapeste, o estranhamento do contato inicial com a língua húngara, o processo de aprendizado.

Todo leitor tem uma bagagem, no meu caso minha própria história de adaptação à cultura de outro país. Essa vivência influenciou minha leitura e senti que faltou muita coisa a ser explorada - principalmente quanto à mudança de visão de mundo que se dá quand...more
Jim Elkins
By the Brazilian superstar ('composer and musician� highly praised poet, playwright, and novelist'). It is sharply and efficiently executed, and closely mimics good literature. In a number of places it is clear that Buarque has thought about the problems of translation, the ways literary novels are constructed, the kinds of plots that international fiction might have, the speed they need, the flash of images, the hints of depth. On some pages, in some strong images, with some sharp ideas, it is...more
José Costa é um ghost writer brasileiro que produz textos, livros e artigos que outros assinam. É casado com Vanda, mas a chama há muito que se apagou. Numa viagem atribulada para Istambul vê-se obrigado a uma escala em Budapeste, cidade pela qual se apaixona.
Estabelecendo um paralelo entre o Rio de Janeiro e Budapeste, Chico Buarque conta-nos a história deste escritor que se divide entre as duas cidades e duas mulheres.
No mesmo capítulo, o autor consegue-nos fazer atravessar o oceano várias vez...more
I first became familiar with Chico Buarque through his music; he's something of a Bossanova legend in Brazil who has authoured several books, plays, and screenplays. "Budapest" is a meditation on penetrating languages and culture as "other" filled with the insights and remarks of one who has walked thousands of miles through foreign cities.
A favorite passage on the cost of work P110: "So much devotion to my craft, writing and rewriting, correcting and polishing texts, pampering every word I put...more
An imaginative, brilliant book by a renascence man: a composer, poet, author, singer, football fan, an ageless beautiful male, Chico Buarque.
Jose, a ghost writer, lives in the schizophrenia of his profession: seeing his texts and books rise while he remains in the shadow. He learns to write prose on the bodies of Brazilian women. When he arrives in Budapest for a ghost writer conference, his marriage already in crisis, he starts writing verse on the body of his new lover. He used to be his wife...more
Oct 04, 2008 Jukka added it
Budapest - Chico Buarque (183 pages)
I discovered this through Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado -- Buarque did the music for the movie of that book. You may recall how important music is in that book, and though i've not actually heard it i understands the music is really well done. I appreciate anyone that can write both write music and fiction well.
Budapest is both good and unusual. Set in both Budapest and Rio, it follows the confused life and adventure of a ghost writer living (a...more
So happy to have finally finished this in the original Portuguese. I love that this is a novel about two of my favorite cities Rio and Budapest, love that its by Chico Buarque one of my favorite musicians. Love that in Portuguese the novel is filled with Nabokovian language, I found myself looking up Latinate words that we also have in the English dictionary but which are in disuse like: brassard, cacoethes, claudication. But Chico Buarque is a Brazilian intellectual and comes from a family that...more
I picked up this book in one of my favorite independent bookstores in San Francisco, and it was listed under staff picks. I read the first few pages and decided I wanted to read more. The style of writing reminded me of William Faulkner -- almost stream of consciousness. It's not clear to me what the time line was in the book, but the plot was brisk and continuous. Another reason why this book intrigued me was that the setting was in both Rio de Janeiro and Budapest, cities I've visited before....more
First of all i should specify that I read this in English translation, not in Portuguese, unfortunately. As everyone knows, to translate is to betray (and given the topic of the novel, this reference is appropriate), so it is hard to tell what I would have made of the book had I read it in the original language. As things stand, I found it entertaining, well-written, amusing, but not the genial material I had heard it described as. It is a nice, entertaining divertissement on the topics of writi...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pedro Aquino
Fantástico, fantástico, fantástico! Um dos melhores livros que já li.

"... e me perguntei se algum dia saberia viver longe do mar, em cidade que não terminasse assim num acidente, mas agonizando para todos os lados." (p. 41)

"Com um mínimo de pudor, mais um tanto de ódio preservado, nossa amizade se consolidou; à diferença do amor, que extravasa a toda hora, a amizade precisa ter seus diques." (p. 90)

"A caminho do mercado búlgaro, onde ia comprar um ventilador, vi o livro numa vitrine e optei por...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 74 75 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Morte e Vida Severina
  • O Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma
  • Memorial de Aires
  • O Retorno
  • Aprendizaje o El libro de los placeres
  • Uma Viagem à India
  • O Continente vol. 1 (O Tempo e o Vento, #1)
  • Primeiras Estórias
  • Vidas Secas
  • O Primo Basílio
  • Capitães da Areia
  • A obscena senhora D
  • Memórias de um Sargento de Milícias
  • Feliz Ano Velho
  • Sentimento Do Mundo
  • Agosto
  • O Filho de Mil Homens
  • O Encontro Marcado
Francisco Buarque de Hollanda is popularly known as Chico Buarque, is a singer, guitarist, composer, dramatist, writer and poet. He is best known for his music, which often includes social, economic and cultural commentary on Brazil and Rio de Janeiro in particular.

Son of the academic Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda, Buarque lived in several locations throughout his childhood, though mostly in Rio de J...more
More about Chico Buarque...
Leite Derramado Estorvo Benjamin Chapeuzinho Amarelo Gota d'água

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“(Hungarian...) the only tongue the devil respects” 7 likes
“De tanto me devotar ao meu ofício, escrevendo e reescrevendo, corrigindo e depurando textos, mimando cada palavra que punha no papel, não me sobravam boas palavras para ela.” 5 likes
More quotes…