Book Review: The Bone Fire by György Dragomán

March 8, 2021


The Bone Fire by György Dragomán (translated by Ottilie Mulzet) looks through the eyes of a 13 year old orphan at a country after a revolution. Mr. Dragomán is an award-winning Hungarian author and a translator.

  • 480 pages
  • Publisher : Mariner Books
  • Language : English
  • ISBN-10 : 0544527208

Book Review: The Bonefire by György Dragomán
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I didn’t know anything about The Bone Fire (Máglya) by György Dragomán, however I do enjoy books from other countries and thought this would be a good one. At first I was disappointed, in general I do not enjoy stream of consciousness books, and the point of view of a thirteen year old girl is not up my alley.

In other words, not my type of book.

This book, however, grew on me quickly. The story is set in an unidentified Eastern European country, after a bloodied revolution has ended. The ascetics that the author build are fascinating, the details hidden in the shadows are the true gems for the observant reader.

Emma, the thirteen year old protagonist, world that is shattered over and over again. Her parents’ death to her grandmother’s sublime magical skills, to her own survivability. In light of the country’s turmoil, Emma finds out the “truth” has many meanings, sometimes no meaning at all. Albeit, many times it doesn’t even matter since someone else decided on what “truth” actually is – much like today’s climate. Acting on such “truths” can, nevertheless, have significant consequences even for the innocent, if there are such people in revolutions.

This book reads like a Cold War fairy-tale, of the old kind where happy endings were far and few in between. I enjoyed the surreal, and abstract world seen through the eyes of a child, forced to grow up quickly.

I thought some of the book could have used a bit of heavy handed editing, but what do I know?


Emma is thirteen years old living in a war-torn country. After the bloodied revolution has ended, Emma found herself without family and home, until she is sent to live with the grandmother she never knew.

Grief stricken Emma learns her grandmother’s everyday magic. Through it all she has to deal with a new school, teenage drama, family secrets, and try and break a circle of never-ending grudges which usually end in blood and death.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affiliate account

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