"There are some who love like the hare lost on the motorway, entrapped in spotlights. / There are some who love like the lion that tears apart what it desires. / There are some who love like the pilot loves the town on which he drops his bombs. / There are some who love like the radar that directs planes in the air."
Ervin Lázár has recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Although he is best known as the author of wonderful children’s books, his Csillagmajor (The Little Town of Miracles), fifteen short tales based on the author’s experiences as a child growing up in a Hungarian village, is written for adults.
"Towards the end he kept saying / how he’s not to blame / that Imre Nagy died / or was killed / or whatever. / Murdered. / He asked: / isn’t he invited to the funeral? / And I said: no. / Because he never got notified. / And he says: / But the funeral is today! / And I say: / Yes, I know. / And then they came and took him away."
Kádár’s last utterance comprised the entire tragedy of this truly epoch-making character: a monarch, whose destiny is completed, whose life ends on the very day when the victim whom he had betrayed, Imre Nagy, is rehabilitated by the courts.
Eurozine, a network of Europe’s leading cultural journals, is an online magazine featuring texts taken from its partner journals on various pressing issues of our time, translated into English. HLO talked to editor Simon Garnett about the present, past and future of the magazine during the Budapest Book Festival.
"1989 did not bring the kind of catharsis that had been expected of it. The commemorations are, of course, lovely, but they only take us further away from the possibility of catharsis. But why should I want young people of today to go through the scandal of Auschwitz? How could they go through it?"- An interview with Imre Kertész by writer and Litera editor Gábor Németh.
Between the two rounds of the parliamentary elections in Hungary, HLO's sister site, Litera asked eleven writers to write a short note in which they describe their feelings about the political atmosphere in the country. A jury composed of five students from various Hungarian universities chose the best from the "national eleven".
Concepts such as the "greatness" of these works or, God forbid, a sensibility for transcendence are non-existent: the system offers them no houseroom. The outcome of all this is "fatal mediocrity." This is how László Földényi F. sees contemporary German literature.
"'Mother, I said they took everyone away, they raped every woman! You said they took away women here, too.’ ’Yes, but only those who were whores. You are not one,’ my mother said. They she threw herself on me and begged, ‘My dear, tell me it is not true!’ ‘All right,’ I said, ‘it is not true. They took me away just to nurse the sick.’"
The Budapest Book Festival, one of Hungary’s most popular cultural events, took place between 20-23 April this year. The festival, where 550 publishers exhibited 40-50 thousand books – among them 300 new publications – took place at the Budapest Congress Centre, on three levels.