Addressed to an imaginary aunt, these letters from the 1700s, written by a member of Prince Ferenc Rákóczi's retinue in Turkish exile, are the first example of art prose in Hungarian. – Excerpts from a new English edition forthcoming from Corvina Press, Budapest.
Fehér’s novel contains all of the elements characteristic of Hungarian society and culture at the time of the regime change. What emerges is the often-mentioned image of a cobbled-together Hungary, complete with a motley, lurching collection of objects and people.
Móricz's novel Relations, recently published in English, is a career story in the Balzac vein, a kaleidoscopic image of the hierarchic society of a Hungarian small town, as well as a description of the "natural history" of corruption, the all-encompassing network of swindles.
"The draftsman had been out of work for six months, and had become extremely unkempt and bedraggled in appearance. It was now three months since he’d moved out of the neighborhood where he’d spent years leading a respectable bachelor’s life in one of the new apartment blocks."
Karinthy is a contemporary author. To put it in a laconic and slightly simplified way, Karinthy created Budapest’s sense of humour, created the absurd and the grotesque. He recognised the eccentric in metropolitan man, and, following the lead of one of his role models, Swift’s Gulliver, highlighted the Chaplinesque minor characters of this ever more technical world.
Péter Zilahy’s The Last Window-Giraffe, a picture-book that is modelled on a children’s dictionary and describes the world of the Eastern bloc in the 70s and the 80s and the demonstrations in Belgrade in 1996-97, has been published in English by Anthem Press in a translation by Tim Wilkinson.