Lázár, widely read for his children’s tales and tales for adults, and Tar, who is read by a smaller circle of admirers for his beautifully told somber stories, seem like an odd couple, indeed, a seemingly haphazard choice of authors.
Oravecz records the history of the disintegration of rural culture as though he was retelling the myth of Atlantis. The Ditch of Ondrok is a three-generation story taking place in a Hungarian village, spanning from a grandfather who had fought in the liberation war of 1848 to a grandson who had emigrated to America just before the turn of the century.
Antal Szerb was only seven years Szentkuthy’s senior but the lives of young men are such that with one aged twenty and the other twenty-seven the rift in knowledge, scope and erudition can appear insurmountable. At least this is how it seemed to Miklós Szentkuthy.
"Frederick the Great and Bach in church at night... They drink, they become delirious, they chatter: Bach is a perverted lecher, a Don Juan, an atheistic libertine; Frederick is a regicidal nihilist, a revolutionary, a traitor. By the morning both have grown quiet; Bach prays with his family, Frederick rides on horseback in front of his soldiers."
The Gravel Pit Lake did well enough in Hungary but, undeservedly, failed to raise any particular storms. It took a German audience to come and throw laurels amid the waves of the lake. Over the past months, directly after its publication in German translation, the book was lauded in superlatives by the most prestigious dailies and literary forums.
Who was Zsuzsa Beney? There are many answers to the question. She was certainly one of the most original voices in recent Hungarian poetry whose originality was vouchsafed by a voice and a theme which was both consciously and unconsciously monolithic.
"A Catalogus Rerum, an "Index of Phenomena" – I am unlikely to free myself of this, the most primitive of my desires. ... is that a sentimental fear of death guiding me, I wonder, a grandpawish fondness for knick-knacks, or some desire for universal knowledge, a Faustian gesture?"
Few works of literature have raised such a storm and caused such reverberations going way beyond their literary relevance as Esterházy’s Revised Edition. One of the greatest confessions of the age, the book recounts the story of the author finding out that his father had been an informer.
The 17 July issue of The New York Review of Books dedicates more than three pages to "The Genius of Péter Nádas". The article, written by Deborah Eisenberg, focuses on Nádas’s volume of essays and short stories entitled Fire and Knowledge, published in 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in Imre Goldstein's translation.
For the English-speaking public, the oeuvre of Miklós Szentkuthy (1908–1988) is completely unknown. Yet there is a large camp of ardent Szentkuthy readers in his native Hungary, and in France his ten translated works have created something very close to a cult.