Gyula Krúdy wrote 60 novels. He loved at least that many women, and this book, like many of those loves, is intense, abundant, and memorable, but not the labor of many years. Sunflower was instead serialized around 1918 in a Hungarian newspaper.

Sunflower tells the story of a well-born Hungarian woman, her friend, and their mutual and mutually exclusive loves. Also, much is reputed to be lost in translation. If that doesn't sound promising, let me recommend Sunflower as among the most lavish books ever conceived. A meandering plot yields wistful views of a lost Hungary, from sharp, snow-laden nights to hazy, sweltering summer afternoons, and everything in-between. Plus, it's funny and not a little saucy. I think of Krúdy as a kind of Hungarian Czesław Miłosz. Put down that forgettable Harlequin penny dreadful and get your lovin' from the house of Krúdy.

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