A literary sensation in Hungary, György Spiró’s book is a gripping page-turner, a masterful historical epic, and a riotous road novel. Set in the tumultuous first century A.D., the novel recounts the adventures of Uri, a bookish, hapless, young Roman Jew. – Forthcoming from Restless Books.
“Men,” he announced, “from this day forth, everything here is yours!” Csurmándi’s sweeping gesture took in the servants’ huts, the stables, the granaries, the fields stretching into the distance, the boughs of the trees lining the main road, and no two ways about it, even Count Pálfi’s palace.
When a man decides to build a house and stops in front of the empty plot for the first time, he involuntarily puts his hand on his wife’s shoulder and is lost in reveries. In the course of the next fifteen, twenty years, this gesture will become less frequent, or it will stop altogether, but that’s not what you think about at a time like this.
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.
Already for a decade now, with the everyday normalization of internet usage, and the dynamic cohabitation of the “digital natives,” “digital immigrants,” and (for a lack of better term) “outsiders,” the literary scene goes full spectrum, with various examples in between.
To me, the shouting Nazis staging their brutal raids on civilian shelters hunting for Jews in hiding, like me, appeared as dumb, cruel, homicidal monsters pretty low on my scale of threats, after the continuous aerial bombardment, the ubiquitous disease-carrying vermin and the contaminated drinking-water supply that got me in the end.
He is among our most Hungarian and most universal writers at the same time: he made the Great Hungarian Plain a metaphor of the world, in order to demonstrate that the whole Creation resides behind God's back now―where it has possibly been from the very start.