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The Book That Made Me: The Balkan Trilogy

Author Vesna Goldsworthy tells us why Olivia Manning's book had such an effect on her

by Psychologies

Olivia Manning The Balkan Trilogy

‘I had just graduated from Belgrade University when I fell in love with an Englishman. I had a scholarship to study in France, but I followed him to London.

'I read Olivia Manning’s The Balkan Trilogy (Arrow, £18.99) when reading books in English was still a bit of a struggle, and writing them was not even a dream. I empathised with the story of a newlywed woman in a strange city. Manning described Bucharest in the 1940s so vividly that I had to go there.

'And go there I did, a few days after the revolution in 1989. There was still the sound of gunfire at night and very few tourists. I re-read the book recently, and it was like meeting a long-lost friend who remembers your younger, braver self.’

Vesna Goldsworthy’s first novel Gorsky (Chatto & Windus, £12.99) is published on 9 April