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.
In advance of Imre Kertész’s first public appearance in Great Britain on 5 March at the Jewish Book Week, it seemed worth gathering together a handful of references that he has made to the English in various published works. This is mostly because they carry an amusingly equivocal edge, but they also highlight a few of the difficult choices translators sometimes face.
In 1983, literary historian Lóránt Kabdebó conducted a series of interviews with Miklós Szentkuthy. These interviews — confessions — were later published in a book form. The excerpt published here is about the genealogy of Szentkuthy's monumental masterpiece, Prae, forthcoming in English from Contra Mundum Press.
"...on sleek black roller skates and carrying a thick, leather-bound book, was King Matthias. He, too, wore a Burger King crown, over a thick red wig that reached his shoulders. (...) Why, I wondered, was the king, who was supposed to be incognito amongst the peasants, wearing a crown?"
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.