In 1944 Pilinszky was called up to the
Hungarian army and soon afterwards evacuated with his unit to Germany.
He never saw action, but in a Germany on the verge of defeat he
witnessed apocalyptic scenes. "The French Prisoner" is a testimony to those experiences. - George Gömöri's and Clive Wilmer's choice.
Originally published in 1985 and republished in 2010 to great critical acclaim, Szilárd Rubin's "Roman Numeral One" is a poetic recollection of an impossible love story between a middle-aged writer who "has grown old but has never managed to grow up", and an enigmatic, fiercely independent and frivolous dentist called Piroska.
No, my friends, heaven is not ocean-sized. It’s smaller. Significantly
smaller. It’s the seaside I saw, and on the seaside a curtsying willow,
and under that willow, a family.
Oh, the family, we teetered, how utterly romantic, the smallest
social unit, ha-ha!, the mainstay of the government’s concerns, he-he!
No, we were not satisfied with Creation. Hold your horses, Esti waved as
if he were our brother, the nincompoop.
"These poems, inspired by paintings, are in no way interpretations of paintings. They are, rather, interpretations of existence, like the poem about Boudin. Nothing happens; the wind lifts a scarf, that sort of thing. But in the meantime there is a whole drama about the meaning of life. How free are we? To what extent are the unhappy guilty?" (Extract from an interview with Péter Kántor)
It’s not a bad idea for a man to get admitted to hospital a couple of
days before a revolution breaks out, stay in until it’s been quashed and
recuperate quietly at home during the ensuing purge. This way, fate
saves him from making bad decisions at critical moments. In fact, it
prevents him from making any kind of decisions at all...
The Word becomes mortal and vulnerable when it is made flesh. The poem
stutters when it talks about body. Through individual stories of
suffering and philosophical odes, Szilárd Borbély’s volume, To the Body, tests the divine and the poetic word against the human experience of existing in a body.
Sándor Tar's prose is considered by the many as the best depiction of
the human cost of the years just following the change in regime of 1989.
His best known collection of short stories which most critics and
readers consider a novel, Our Street (1995), presents the lives of people living in a street at the far end of a small town.
It’s marvellous fun going around in a foreign country if voices are merely sounds which leave us cold and we stare blankly at everyone that speaks to us. What splendid isolation, my friends, what independence, what lack of responsibility... We start to display an inexplicable trust in adults wiser than ourselves. We let them speak and act on our behalf. Then we accept everything, unseen and unheard.