Valeria's Last Stand

Valeria's Last Stand

by Marc Fitten

Gail Reid: The title character Valeria is the village curmudgeon. The setting is post-communist Hungary as capitalism makes its way to rural life. Valeria, 68 years old and the terror of the town is grumpy, opinionated, and downright nasty to her neighbors. Nothing of note ever happens in this village. In fact, it is so insignificant that it has escaped damage during all the recent wars.

One day Valeria sees the local potter at the marketplace and is immediately smitten, as if she'd never seen him before. The widowed potter -- no youngster himself -- has been entrapped by Ibolya, barmaid and owner of the only tavern for miles. But the potter is intrigued by Valeria and his work is inspired by her. He emerges more as an artist than a mere craftsman. Ibolya, the barmaid turned entrepreneur, finds numerous ways to keep everyone coming to the bar and connives to win the potter back.

I think this book is a fable and much can be read into it. Love can be found at any age; and inspiration comes from a variety of places. The characters are all delightful and wholly original. Many of the sub-plots are laugh-aloud funny. I am smiling as I write this and hope others enjoy it as much as I did.
Rating: *****

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