Valeria's Last Stand

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A&C Black, Jun 1, 2009 - Fiction - 272 pages
27 Reviews

In sixty-eight years, Valeria has never minced her words. Harrumphing through her isolated little village deep in the Hungarian steppes, she clutches her shopping basket like a battering ram and leaves nothing uncriticised - flaccid vegetables at the market; idle farmers carousing in Ibolya's Nonstop Tavern; that gauche chimpanzee of a mayor and his flashy, leggy wife; people who whistle.

But one day, her spinster's heart is struck by an unlikely arrow: the village potter, with his decisive hands and solid gaze. Valeria finds herself suddenly dressing in florals and touching her hair, and what's more, smiling at people in the street. The potter makes her the most beautiful vase she has ever seen. The farmers buy a celebratory round.

The problem with all this is that Ibolya (herself at least fifty-eight) has been romancing the potter for months and vows to win him back. And then there's Ferenc, the sugar beet farmer, red-headed and married but all the same hopelessly in love with Ibolya. Meanwhile the mayor has his own problems, mostly involving foreign investors and a non-existent railway.

And then a roving chimney sweep arrives in the village, to make a quick buck and bring some good luck - or perhaps bad luck; no one can really decide. All anyone knows is, there's never been such a hullabaloo, which just goes to show it's never too late to try something new.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Carlie - LibraryThing

The novel opens with Valeria, a crotchety old woman who lives in a small rural village in Hungary. She is not well liked and is a bit of a bully. One day in the market, she sees the potter and is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SashaM - LibraryThing

A good quick read. Read it in about 6 hours I liked the characters and the story moves along well. It could have been set in any number of small towns in any number of countries but the author clearly ... Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24

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About the author (2009)

Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn in 1974 and lived in Hungary from 1993 through 1998. He has been published in several American literary quarterlies and publications, including Prairie Schooner and Esquire online.He is the editor of the Chattahoochee Review and of the Red Hen Press Literary Translation Series. Valeria's Last Stand is his first novel and will be published in six countries.

Marc Fitten lives in Atlanta

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