Stealing from a Deep Place: Travels in Southeastern Europe

Stealing_better_qualityIn 1982, equipped only with a small travel fellowship and a good map, Brian Hall rode his bicycle from England to Italy, where a chance conversation inspired him to extend his journey to the other side of the Iron Curtain.

As autumn gave way to winter, Hall rode hundreds of miles over mountainous roads in Romania and Bulgaria, sleeping in fields and abandoned haylofts to avoid paying the “official” hotel prices. The following winter he returned to live for several months in Budapest, where he was brought face-to-face with the frustration of Hungarian artists and intellectuals living in a closed society.  His unflagging enthusiasm sustained him through equipment failures, food shortages, and petty bureaucracy.  His reward was the kindness of strangers, who opened their doors, and sometime their hearts, to their insatiably curious visitor.

Sympathetic, wry and evocative, this is an extraordinary and stylish glimpse of a hidden world.


“Not since reading Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon have I been more deeply affected by a travel book than I have been by Brian Hall’s Stealing from a Deep Place.”  —The New Republic

“A complex and often fascinating portrait of countries near to us but generally neglected.”  —Sunday Times (London)

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