06. 08. 2013. 11:02

Book Week 2013: New books I.

As the flood on the Danube breaks record and is still rising, the 84th Festive Book Week is taking place in Budapest a few hundred metres from the river. We browsed among the wealth of books published for the occasion.

Sándor Márai: Hallgatni akartam (I Wanted to Keep Silent)

A new Márai – 24 years after the writer's death. Márai mentions in his diaries that he is writing the third part of his masterpiece, Confessions of a Bourgeois, but the manuscript, found in Márai’s estate, is published only now, under the title I Wanted to Keep Silent. Originally written as the first two chapters of Föld, föld! (published in English as Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948) between 1949 and 1950, it was eventually not included in the book, published in the 1970s. This essay-novel can indeed be read as the third part of Confessions of a Bourgeois as it outlines the history of Hungarian bourgeoisie between 1938 and 1950. The book also includes concise portraits of major Hungarian politicians of the era like Pál Teleki, László Bárdossy or István Bethlen. Márai fears for the fate of European bourgeoisie after the Anschluss, but also criticizes the Horthy regime and the landed gentry. (Helikon)

Imre Bartók: A patkány éve (The Year of the Rat)

What would Heidegger, Marx and Wittgenstein do if they were roaming the streets of New York as serial killers possessing superhuman powers? Imre Bartók’s much-awaited novel takes place in New York, the city that is soon to become the starting-point of a global bio-apocalypse. The second novel of the young writer, born in 1985, who claims to have been influenced by Brett Easton Ellis and Edgar Allan Poe, abounds in terrorist acts, brutal amputations and families turned into plants. (Libri)

Szilárd Borbély: Nincstelenek. Már elment a Mesijás? (The Dispossessed. Is the Messiah gone yet?)

Memories, characters and beliefs of a village in the eastern part of Hungary, seen with the eyes of a child. Will the Messiah come back from exile, or will the inhabitants of the village have to make do without him, toiling away day after day? The novel mixes fragments of the author’s life with fictitious stories. (Kalligram)

Vilmos Csaplár: Edd meg a barátodat! (Eat Your Friend)

In the 1950s, a family escapes from an internment camp in the Great Hungarian Plain and hides in a cave in the northern hills. Vilmos Csaplár’s new novel is about the mercilessness of Communist secret police, the love triangle of a woman and two men, and about how “there is no such thing as love, just as there is no fruits, only apples, pears, plums, peaches, sour cherries, blackberries, redcurrants, strawberries, blueberries, medlars and lemons”. (Kalligram)

Zsuzsa Csobánka: Majdnem Auschwitz ( Almost Auschwitz)

A novel about survivors, narrated in retrospective by their children and grandchildren. A strange and painful love affair between Jakob, who survived Auschwitz, and Edith, who survived the shooting by the Danube. (Kalligram)

Meanwhile in Budapest:

Tags: Sándor Márai, Szilárd Borbély, Vilmos Csaplár, Zsuzsa Csobánka, Imre Bartók