As Erno Szív I write two types of feuilleton, one is about 40 to 45 lines of rambling stuff that appears six times a month. The other is more like a short story in a national literary weekly. I wrote the children's novel against depression. It worked - I can recommend the method to anybody.
Would I be willing to write a review of this ground-breaking anthology of Hungarian literature in English translation, the editor of HLO asked. "No" was my instant reply, I simply couldn't. It would be simpler to write about why I could not. A foolish reflex. Why not write about why not was the response.
"There was no doubt of it, the dark coat on the rack could mean only one thing: a guest had arrived, an unusual guest at that, because the coat was stern-looking, grim, quite unlike the coat that usually hung on that rack, so shabby, and threadbare I didn't even feel like doing what I usually did when left alone with strange coats in the hallway and go through the pockets and, if I found some loose change, cling to the wall, listen for noises, wait for the right moment, and then steal a few fillers or forints."
In common with most British schoolchildren, I didn't receive much grounding in Hungarian literature. Even when, in my teenage years, I started exploring the literature of other (and in those days Hungary was particularly 'other') European cultures, Hungary was conspicuous by its absence.
In his review, Gergely Angyalosi claims that "[y]ou don't need to be exceptionally insightful to realize that those readers who are willing to immerse themselves in the world of Parti Nagy's most recent book should expect to experience a shift in their attitudes towards their mother tongue."
"I think you have to be good at forgetting - it is part of normal life. Writers, on the other hand, have a different job description, if any. A writer cannot really afford to forget in the way which is necessary for other people for a healthy life. This makes life slightly more difficult, but it is our own fault - nobody asked us to be writers. "