Best known for her classic book Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, Eleanor Perényi led a worldly life before settling down in Connecticut. More Was Lost is a memoir of her youth abroad, written in the early days of World War II, after her return to the United States. In 1937, at the age of nineteen, Perényi falls in love with a poor Hungarian baron and in short order acquires both a title and a struggling country estate at the edge of the Carpathians. She throws herself into this life with zeal, learning Hungarian and observing the invisible order of the Czech rule, the resentment of the native Ruthenians, and the haughtiness of the dispossessed Hungarians. In the midst of massive political upheaval, Perényi and her husband remain steadfast in their dedication to their new life, an alliance that will soon be tested by the war. With old-fashioned frankness and wit, Perényi recounts this poignant tale of how much was gained and how much more was lost.
How had Hungary's feudalist ways become obsolete by the time Perenyi arrived? What made her way of life so charming? And how do we reconcile American romanticizing of Europe with the realities of daily life there?
Island Book's open book club meets the last Thursday of every month at 7:30pm. Our staff facilitator chooses both fiction and nonfiction titles. All are welcome to attend, and if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.