Reading progress update: I've read 169 out of 288 pages.

The Great Fortune - Olivia Manning

A barrel-organ stood at the street corner. A white-bearded peasant, bundled up in a sheepskin, was turning the handle, producing a Rumanian popular tune of the past, haunting and sad. Harriet had heard the same organ playing this tune several times before and no one had been able to tell her what it was called. Now, as they stood in a doorway sheltering from the cold she asked Clarence if he knew.

He shook his head. “I’m tone deaf,” he said.

Harriet said: “That’s the last barrel-organ in Bucharest. When the old man dies and there’s no one to play it, that tune will be lost for ever.”

Clarence stood silent, apparently reflecting, as Guy would never reflect, on the passing of things. “Yes,” he said and as he smiled down on her his rare and beautiful smile, they touched, it seemed, a moment of complete understanding.

There is no plot to the story exactly. It's more of a record of a time and place and the people who inhabit it. It's not the kind of story I usually enjoy, but this is beautiful in parts.