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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,942 ratings  ·  197 reviews
José Costa é um escritor anónimo pago para produzir artigos de jornal, discursos políticos, catas de amor, monografias e autobiografias romanceadas que outros assinam. Um dia, regressando de um congresso de escritores anónimos em Istambul, é obrigado a fazer uma escala forçada em Budapeste. Fascinado pela língua magiar, «segundo as más-línguas, a única língua que o Diabo r ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published 2003 by Companhia Das Letras
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  3,942 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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J.L.   Sutton
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chico Buarque’s Budapest engages the senses and immerses the reader in the protagonist ghost writer’s surreal world. Buarque is perhaps better known as a composer and musician (in addition to being a playwright, poet and novelist). These talents are on full display here. The musicality of language and storytelling is intertwined in this tale of ghostwriter Jose Costa. His imposed anonymity is explored in terms of relationships to others as well as to his mental state. During a strange conference ...more
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Antonio by: Vicente
What falling in love with a country, with a language can make with a man? Can he one day forget about the words which softly entered his ears lodging inside his heart? Budapest is a book precisely about this subject.

Chico Buarque, one of the most notable names of Brazilian Popular Music, shows us that his brightness goes beyond music. In this book, Jose Costa, the main character, is a ghostwriter - he writes books for other people, remaining in the shadows while the proclaimed authors are recogn
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
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely South-American escapism into (pause for the build up ... ...) Hungary. If you liked this, check out Bolaño.
Selton Chagas
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's the first novel written by Chico Buarque I've read. And the history takes places in Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities that I could visit. So, that reading was special for me.

"Budapest" is about the José Costa's history (or in hungarian, Zsoze Kósta - certainly a joke), a brazilian ghost writer, and starts when he was in the flight to return to Rio de Janeiro, and one unexpected scale
has needed stayed one night in Budapest. Then, started his big passion for hungarian language. Acoor
Jim Elkins
Not Quite Literature

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
Hmm, how do I describe this book?

I decided that I would take on the challenge of reading the World Cup of Literature presented by Three Percent, because I love soccer, I love books and hey, why not?

This was book number one hailing from Brazil. It is short, I'd even call it a novella and the translation loses nothing. The issue at hand is the book is about nothing really and the narrator is a total d-bag. I take this quote from Pseudo-intellectual reviews: "http://pseudointellectualreviews.word
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It had been long since I devoured a book in just a couple of days not in a rush to make my reading challenge in time, but because the story was captivating and, in a way, made me feel I was the main character myself.

Without a doubt my time living in Hungary and listening to Bossa Nova, have a lot of fault on this. Also my love for languages and the fact that I too, with way less success than Zsose Kósta, tried to learn the only language that the devil respects, Hungarian.

"It should be against th
Rhomboid Goatcabin
Not unlike Hesse's Steppenwolf or some of Murakami's early works, Budapest begins in an unassuming though intriguing way and, subtly and hardly noticeably, progresses into confusion, otherworldliness and delirium. A baffling short novel of language and identity. Disorienting, exhilerating and terrifying!
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best novels I have read in a long time. Reminded of the best of Roberto Bolano, Dag Solstad, Jorge Borges, Lydia Davis, and much more. Expansive minimalism with multiple identities and satire of authorship and celebrity culture. The characters are all very compelling, as well as the plot and settings of Rio and Budapest. But the language. Ah the language. Stripped down with amazing cadences. The art of effortlessness. Much kudos to the translator (Alison Entrekin). I want to read much ...more
James Ward
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Reading it as a Hungarian it was very interesting and sometimes very disappointing as well. The main character of the book is a fu@#$/g as¥₩%le. But that's ok... But writing Tokay wine instead of Tokaji is NOT ok! ...and where is this "pumpkin pie" coming from????? I am Hungarian and never heard of it. I mean probably people make pumpkin pies but it's not a traditional and popular and famous Hungarian "pie". Anyway...the book is ok, but should have done more research before....
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I have mixed feelings about this book. There were gripping, philosophical passages that I appreciated, and I've always liked stream of consciousness books. The premise with the false identities, pretenses, and language difficulties was interesting. At the same time, I found the protagonist arrogant and unlikeable, and, as a native Hungarian and a citizen of Budapest, the inaccurate descriptions of both the language and the city left me annoyed.
Even so, the last 5-6 pages were pure genius.
David Sasaki
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: transleighteen
Maybe this was too clever for me but I found the steam of consciousness style tiring, it’s not really clear what’s real and what isn’t, is the narrator insane ? It just made no sense.
Jill Shunk
I liked this book, but not sure why. I certainly felt compelled to keep reading it, even though it was kind of weird; very lofty with many themes and a slightly ambiguous plot. Hmmmm.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, I did not enjoy reading this book. The way it explores languages is very interesting, but the main character and narrator is so annoying I can't really connect with his story. He is selfcentred in the extreme, irresponsible and bordering on sexist - I simply can't stand him! However, the last three pages of this book are great, and almost makes it worth reading.
This is a brilliant plot. Unfortunately, its brilliance is revealed too late. Most of the book is dull and repetitive, with some nice plot twists that are never explained and let the reader think of the reasons why. The writing is kinda problematic, mainly due to its long paragraphs. I liked the story a lot, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I should.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writing style was really not for me. Moving from the narrators inner imagined thoughts to what was actually happening became confusing and frustrating. I didn't enjoy the characters either, they for me felt paper thin.

The only thing that had a beat for me was the description of the authors love of language, that I did understand.

Not for me.
Carla Mendes
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this. I lived in Budapest for three years and I am now traveling to Río. It was the perfect gift. I miss the city dearly and recommend this to anyone who has lived in Budapest or has had any contact with the Hungarian culture.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
An outstanding piece of literary fiction by one of Brazil's most revered poets & songwriters. It's about the creative process while living a life of anonymity, exploration of cultures & language. A great read that I couldn't put down!
*I read an English translation.
Francis Augusto Medeiros-Logeay
Good book. I am not sure I like Chico Buarque's writing style, but he has wit, and the book is quite entertaining.
Catarina Leocádio
Sep 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
What the actual fuck?
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great story, beautiful musical language.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brazil, realism
Read this while traveling. Sometimes you get tired of physically seeing new things and new people because it's kind of exhausting. This book helps to clear your mind and open your imagination to an unknown land with its unknown people. This is really good Chico/Zsoze Kósta.
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
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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“(Hungarian...) the only tongue the devil respects.” 15 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
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