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“Perfect late night reading” JAN MORRIS
“Banffy is a born storyteller” PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR
“Totally absorbing” MARTHA KEARNEY
“So evocative” SIMON JENKINS

The second volume of Miklos Banffy’s panoramic trilogy of the dying years of the Habsburg empire.

The tale of two Transylvanian cousins, their loves, their ambitions and their fortunes continues in They Were Found Wanting. Balint Abady is forced to part from the beautiful and unhappily married Adrienne Uzdy. Laszlo Gyeroffy is rapidly heading for self-destruction through drink and his own fecklessness. The politicians, quarrelling among themselves and stubbornly ignoring their countrymen’s real needs, are still pursuing their vendetta with the Habsburg rule from Vienna. Meanwhile they fail to notice how the Great Powers – through such events as Austria’s annexation of Bosnia-Herzagovina in 1908 – are moving ever closer to the conflagration of 1914-1918 that will destroy their world for ever.

Banffy’s portrait contrasts a life of privilege and corruption with the lives and problems of an expatriate Romanian peasant minority whom Balint tries to help. It is an unrivalled evocation of a rich and fascinating aristocratic world oblivious of its impending demise.#

Part two of the trilogy that began with They Were Counted, and ends with They Were Divided.

Translated from the Hungarian by Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Banffy-Jelen
With a Foreword by Patrick Leigh-Fermor


Pleasure of a different scale and kind. It is a sort of Galsworthian panorama of life in the dying years of the Habsburg empire - perfect late night reading for nostalgic romantics like me.
Jan Morris, Observer "Books of the Year"
Just about as good as any fiction I have ever read, like Anna Karenina and War and Peace rolled into one. Love, sex, town, country, money, power, beauty, and the pathos of a society which cannot prevent its own destruction - all are here.
Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
An impressively fluent text. In telling its larger story, it gives a wealth of detail about an extraordinary society, and makes you feel that the colours, scents and sounds of distant lives are still spread out before you.
Times Literary Supplement
Fascinating. He writes about the quirky border lairds and squires and the high misty forest ridges and valleys of Transylvania with something of the ache that Milosz brings to the contemplation of his lost Eden
Plunge into the cleansing waters of a rediscovered masterpiece.
Michael Henderson, Daily Telegraph
Like Joseph Roth and Robert Musil, Miklos Banffy is one of those novelists Austria-Hungary specialised in. Intimate and sparkling chroniclers of a wider ruin, ironic and elegiac.
Julian Evans, Daily Telegraph
Full of arresting descriptions, beautiful evocations of scenery and wise political and moral insights.
Francis King, Spectator