Celebrated postmodern author Péter Esterházy is currently making Hungarian literary headlines in more contexts than one. Beside the timely billowing of birthday laudations as Esterházy turns 60 this Wednesday, his infamously liberal use of borrowed "guest texts" has also been getting a considerable share of public lambasting recently. Whether or not a fair share is a matter of renewed debate.
The commander of the death-squad personally responsible for the murder of Miklós Radnóti – perhaps the greatest poet of the Holocaust well known in English translation – escaped retribution for the deed. His remains rest in official burial grounds reserved for the heroes of the Hungarian Republic.
Nobody quite knew how the war between werebears and carnivorous boars had started. The boars figure it was bears that started it, the bears figure it was boars. The werebears told how on a very cold day in winter, when snow was too deep for the boars to burrow down for roots, when hunger and cold had driven them into a cave, they came across a sleeping bear and devoured it.
We've called on contemporary authors to write modern fables of up to 500 words. The protagonists are animals – real or imaginary – and represent in their character, behaviour and deeds the figures, situations or the absurdities typical of present-day Hungarian society.
As we contemplated Jack London’s birthday on January 12th, we were curious to know the reading tastes of Hungarian young people. We discussed opposition between classic and contemporary youth fiction in Hungary. What is most popular among them today? Is it the rewritten classics, the trendy vampire stories or the favorites of their parents’ generation?
Distant from Asia, yet not in Europe. Moving away from the East towards the West, wary of the former, hopeful in the latter. (...) To the foreigner, Hungary appears a land of contradictions, a terra incognita with much that is recognizably European, but even more that remains beyond comprehension, just as an operetta bears some resemblance to real life, yet is light years distant from it.