Ervin Lázár is the creator of a genre we may safely call
Central European folk surrealism, which takes on the quality of a
hallucinatory exploration into that part of the soul where beauty, hope,
and yearning live in close proximity with the harsh realities of life.
Just on its title alone many Hungarian readers in 1976 (and since) must have been puzzled by László Fábián's first short novel, an astonishingly rich growing-of-age tale, told in a persuasively poetic manner.
"Even if you have an apartment and a livelihood, homelessness is still a major, characteristic symptom of our times. One can be
homeless spiritually, too, if they can’t find their place
in the world. For this reason I
have felt closely acquainted with people who are homeless."
For a long time now Szabados wanted a bigger apartment so the children
could have separate rooms, but he could never manage it, and now it was
too late, he’ll just have to accept it. His dreams had come to naught.
And so have lots of other things.
With its objects and its environment, St Stephen's Park in Budapest encapsulates the ways in which recent history was monumentalised in Hungary by various ideologies. - This introductory essay is a fitting hors d'oeuvre to the essays revolving around cultural memory, edited by a team of scholars at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.