”A powerful memoir of war, politics, literature, and family life by one of Europe’s leading intellectuals,” is how the publisher Other Press recommends György Konrád's new book available in English. The volume entitled A Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life blends the author's two autobiographical novels into one.
9 kilos is Zsuzsa Selyem's first fictional work. It is an experimental novel based on the structure of Psalm 119, in various styles – from minimalistic dialogues to theoretical passages – and told by several narrators in search for connections between the episodes of a story happening in the 90s in the squares of post-communist East European cities.
Writer-director-actor Béla Pintér occupies a unique role as impressario in Budapest's alternative theatre scene. His signature blend of music and movement, traditional and modern theatre techniques makes each of his one-act shows an unpredictable and memorable experience.
"– They say that your Susanna is a witch! (...) – That’s not true! – I snapped back in fury (...). – Anyways I saw her myself asleep in her bed on Saint Martin’s eve, when the thirteenth happened to fall on a Friday! – I said triumphantly, hoping this once to come out on top in the debate. – If she were a witch she would have had to have flown to the Brocken peaks at midnight!"
"...on sleek black roller skates and carrying a thick, leather-bound book, was King Matthias. He, too, wore a Burger King crown, over a thick red wig that reached his shoulders. (...) Why, I wondered, was the king, who was supposed to be incognito amongst the peasants, wearing a crown?"
These urban intellectual women had lost their livelihoods and their positions in the wake of the 1956 Revolution or in the Rákosi era: jobless, they sit around drinking coffee, sipping cheap cognac, smoking working men’s cigarettes and finding comfort in each other’s beds. Escaping from their unheated bed-sitters, they while away the time in cheap bistros pondering whether to kill themselves or escape to the West.