"I toyed with an idea that I – as a decent Christian – never entertained before: what if the central signifier of all the metaphors and concepts of Christianity was not a beautiful, young, healthy but tortured male body... but a female body." - An interview from 2011 with the recently deceased poet, Szilárd Borbély.
1500 pages of memorable resonances between the perceptions, emotions, thoughts, gestures and stories of the various characters. And actually, Nádas says little more beyond the structural beauty of parallels. Yet this is how he comes to include so much about the Hungarian and European history of the 20th century, about our culture and, within that, our most neuralgic regional characteristics, our physical, psychological and social compulsions. What he does not offer is an overarching ideology, an ideal to grant cohesion.
"Running an eye over the regions of our own era, controlled and enmeshed as they are in so many different ways, the sight of disintegrated or as yet unconsolidated terror states prompts us, time and time again, to ask: at what moment do age-old agencies encounter the personal names that suddenly spring to the surface?"
At an end-of-the-year event organized by the Hungarian Ministry of National Cultural Heritage Minister of Culture András Bozóki introduced the newly appointed directors of the Hungarian Institute in Paris and the Hungarian Cultural and Information Centre in Stuttgart as well as the curator of the 2006/2007 Hungarian season in Germany.
Závada is intrigued by the question of individual and collective responsibility in the events of the twentieth century, and the narrative form he uses makes his novel a real novelty: letting different groups of narrators speak seems to be the proper form for verbalizing all the possible questions the twentieth century raised in terms of collective responsibility.
The last interview with recently deceased writer István Eörsi on writing children’s poems about cancer; on how being in prison after the 1956 revolution makes one a better writer; on Georg Lukács; and on how someone who loves pig brawn and brandy cannot hear the music of the spheres.