Olivia Manning

The Balkan Trilogy
  • The Balkan Trilogy

  • 'Her gallery of personages is huge, her scene painting superb, her pathos controlled, her humour quiet and civilised' Anthony Burgess

    'So glittering is the overall parade - and so entertaining the surface - that the trilogy remains excitingly vivid; it amuses, it diverts and it informs, and to do these things so elegantly is no small achievement' Sunday Times


    'A fantastically tart and readable account of life in eastern Europe at the start of the war' Sarah Waters

    The Balkan Trilogy is the story of a marriage and of a war, a vast, teeming, and complex masterpiece in which Olivia Manning brings the uncertainty and adventure of civilian existence under political and military siege to vibrant life.

    At the heart of the trilogy are newly-weds Guy and Harriet Pringle, who arrive in Bucharest - the so-called Paris of the East - in the autumn of 1939, just weeks after the German invasion of Poland. Guy's lecturing job awaits, alongside friends and the ever-ardent Sophie - but for Harriet, alone and naive, it's a strange new life. Other surprises follow: Romania joins the Axis, and before long German soldiers overrun the capital. The Pringles flee south to Greece, part of a group of refugees made up of White Russians, journalists, con artists, and dignitaries. In Athens, however, the couple will face a new challenge of their own...

Olivia Manning, OBE, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire. The daughter of a naval officer, she produced her first novel, The Wind Changes, in 1937. She married just before the War and went abroad with her husband, R. D. Smith, a British Council lecturer in Bucharest. Her experiences there formed the basis of the work which makes up The Balkan Trilogy. As the Germans approached Athens, she and her husband evacuated to Egypt and ended up in charge of the Palestine Broadcasting Station. They returned to London in 1946 and lived there until her death in 1980.

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