Krisztán Grecsó’s (1976) first novel promises a great deal, and delivers on most of its promise. A densely packed work, it may be read as an educational novel, the story of a mystery, a narrative probing into folk belief, a village novel or a novel about provincial Hungary.
The word “happy” is a surprisingly rarely used term in Hungarian literature, and this is one of the reasons why I chose to use it. It is rather the expressions for “unhappiness” that have become all too trivial.
I had always known that a time would come when I was going to
have to swim across the Danube. Everybody knows it is something they
have to do some time, despite which most people never do it; they die
without having done so.