Ervin Lázár is the creator of a genre we may safely call
Central European folk surrealism, which takes on the quality of a
hallucinatory exploration into that part of the soul where beauty, hope,
and yearning live in close proximity with the harsh realities of life.
Péter Hajnóczy's recently discovered book follows the stories of ordinary people who got caught up in the net of the corrupt mental institutions of socialist Hungary where there was no one to protect the patients and from where there was no escape.
In Budapest no literate person can grow up without some sense of the Krúdy mystique that still hovers in the air, and harks back to the latter-day, "peacetime" splendors of the Monarchy that evaporated, along with so very much else, around 1918.
"GYŐZŐ: Pest, the big smoke, is full of labouring proles, / Juicy with gossip about us on the hill. / Down there the streets are cordoned off. Cops know / They need not cordon streets off up in Buda.
KÁLMÁN: I’m faintly aware of a sickening distant buzz: / Here we go again: they’re burning cars. / Here we go again: uproot that call-box. / Here we go again: the piercing sirens. / Here we go again: streets full of teargas."
She’s not coming, the Buda camera said. She ought to be there, said
the Pest end. Another tomfoolery of yours, said Buda. It’s not, honest!
Like hell it isn’t, the Buda end fumed. Days and weeks went by but the
girl never entered the eyes of the Buda camera.