“Perfect late night reading” JAN MORRIS
“Banffy is a born storyteller” PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR
“Totally absorbing” MARTHA KEARNEY
“So evocative” SIMON JENKINS
An extraordinary portrait of the vanished world of pre-1914 Hungary, They Were Counted is an epic story told through the eyes of two cousins, Count Balint Abady and Count Laszlo Gyeroffy. Shooting parties in great country houses, turbulent scenes in parliament and the luxury life in Budapest provide the backdrop for this gripping, prescient novel, forming a chilling indictment of upper-class frivolity and political folly in which good manners cloak indifference and brutality. Abady becomes aware of the plight of a group of Romanian mountain peasants and champions their cause, while Gyeroffy dissipates his resources at the gaming tables, mirroring the decline of the Austro-Hungarian empire itself.
This is the first volume Banffy’s trilogy, which continues with They Were Found Wanting and They Were Divided. It was rediscovered for an international readership after the fall of communism in Hungary.
With a Foreword by Patrick Leigh-Fermor
Translated from Hungarian by Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Banffy-Jelen
WINNER OF THE WEIDENFELD TRANSLATION PRIZE