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The year is 1956. Soviet tanks are rolling into Budapest. In London, an expatriate Hungarian painter, Janos Lavin, has disappeared following a triumphant one-man show. Where has he gone and why? The only clues may lie in his diary. In his urgent and visionary first novel, Berger creates a multilayered intellectual and moral detective story. Lavin's diaries suggest far more than the motives for his disappearance: they also reveal the ways in which a man may reconcile the solitary call of art with the demands of conscience.