We know shockingly little about the temporary and troubled period following the Second World War – most often we project onto it what we know of the later decades; and our notion of our knowledge (or ignorance) of the Holocaust is the perfect example. – A review of Pál Závada's latest novel by Teri Szűcs.
György Dragomán's The White King has been recently published in English. A story of a child living in Ceausescu's Romania, the novel conveys the horrors of the adult world as they infiltrate the everyday life of a child whose father had been taken away by the secret police.
"The best thing would be if you say you got AIDS, because then you’ll automatically be granted refuge status on medical grounds. But for that you need the virus, too. Lucky for you, you went with an old pro like me. For another twenty percent I can take care of that for you, too."
Bodor’s districts are comparable to the Zone in Tarkovsky’s Stalker, although here they are reservations rather than sacred spots for purification and salvation. In these districts, the primordial aspirations of power are enacted, human solidarity takes the shape of mutual dependence and the only adequate response is flight.
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."