The Bone Fire by György Dragomán
Trade paperback format. Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet.
A New York Times Editors' Choice
From an award-winning and internationally acclaimed European writer: A chilling and suspenseful novel set in the wake of a violent revolution about a young girl rescued from an orphanage by an otherworldly grandmother she’s never met
Thirteen-year-old Emma grows up under an Eastern European dictatorship where oppression seems eternal. When her dissident parents die in a car accident, she’s taken to an orphanage, only to be adopted soon after by a grandmother she has never met.
While her homeland is shattered by a violent revolution, Emma—like a witch's apprentice—comes to learn the ways of her new grandmother, who can tell fortunes from coffee dregs, cause and heal pain at will, and shares her home with the ghost of her husband. But this is not the main reason her grandmother is treated with suspicion and contempt by most people in town. They suspect her or her husband of having been involved in the disappearance of top secret government files.
As Emma learns her family history, she begins to see that, for her grandparents, the alternate reality shaped by magic was their only form of freedom. The Bone Fire is a political Gothic, carried along by the menace and promise of a fairy tale.
“Anything can happen in The Bone Fire—and everything does. Dragomán puts us in the middle of our most wondrous and terrifying childhood fairytales, somehow unhazing their dreaminess and replicating their electrifying uncertainty all at once.”
—Téa Obreht, bestselling author of Inland and The Tiger's Wife
"[Dragomán's] telling is not just magic, but enchantment."
—Rebecca Makkai, New York Times Book Review