Corvina Publishing House in Budapest has spent decades in the business of conveying classic and modern Hungarian literature to foreigners. The director of the publishing house talks about the chances of Hungarian books finding their way to an audience outside Hungary.
You only have to speak the name Petri and you find yourself in the middle of a subculture – the period of Kádárist consolidation, which followed in the wake of the 1956 revolution. His poetry was a type of civil political poetry in an age in which readers looked for covert messages of resistance and freedom in every line of poetry.
Örkény brought something radically new to literature by creating fantastic realism, which appeared to be the only valid and viable formal solution to fit a reality that had turned completely fantastic and absurd. Behind each of the almost Dadaistic situations he depicts, we sense the workings of history.
"I know no European poet as close in spirit to revolutionary Americans like Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg." (Greg Miller) – A book of poetry by András Petocz has been published by Corvina (Budapest), in the translation of Nathaniel Barratt.
"The key turned twice in the lock, and ten years flew by. What did Sindbad do in those ten years? Perhaps no one cares. The days of his youth were gone, and with them his stern father, the two cheerful and wise tutors, his spirit of enterprise which in times past had led him to willingly court adventure; he no longer considered women perfect angels."
Kertész's Detective Story, soon to be published in English by Knopf, has already garnered some favourable reviews. The story, originally published in Hungarian in 1977, two years after Nobel Prize-winning Fatelessness, is set in an unspecified South American country and examines the workings of totalitarianism through the story of a former member of the state security force.
The “Holocaust” experience marks a very important strand in the thematic material of Kertész's published works, yet it is far from being his only theme, as will become clear from the English translations of two stories, scheduled to be released by the small American publishing house Melville House.