07. 30. 2011. 08:44

Hungarian fiction special feature in the July issue of Asymptote Journal

Asymptote, an international journal dedicated to literary translation, has published a section on Hungarian fiction in its July 2011 issue, complete with translators’ notes as well as written versions and audio recordings of some of the Hungarian originals.

The section starts with a short story entitled "Happiness" (trans. Peter Sherwood) by Dezső Kosztolányi, whose novels—Skylark, Anna Édes and Kornél Esti—have recently caught the attention of critics and readers in the English-speaking world. Kosztolányi’s character Kornél Esti is the starting point for Péter Esterházy’s 2010 novel, Esti, and Asymptote has published an excerpt from this novel as well, in Judith Sollosy’s translation. This is a chapter in which "the author introduces Kornél Esti, the hero of the book and offers a glimpse into the author's ars poetica and musings on life, present in profusion within its pages." (J. Sollosy)

Tim Wilkinson has translated two pieces for this section. The first one is from Gábor Németh’s 1998 book Lake Huron, a "collection of 17 short fictional pieces… which are true stories based on the assertion that the only thing one can state anything about with safety and certainty is oneself… Though this would qualify it as so-called 'experimental' writing in Britain and the USA, it is just one of a wide range of 'textual' approaches which have been common in Hungary (as well as more widely in Europe) since the 1980s." (T. Wilkinson) Wilkinson’s other translation is from (The One) Who Is Not, a novel András Forgách, "a pastiche composed of Zen Buddhist style anecdotes that veer hilariously off-track." (Lee Yew Leong, editor of Asymptote)

The most recent pieces in this selection are those by Yvette Bíró and Balázs Györe. Runner is the first novel by Yvette Bíró, an internationally known film critic, theoretician and scenarist. The excerpt published here was translated by Ivan Sanders, who writes that "what is remarkable about Yvette Bíró's new novel Runner is that, while it's rooted in the experiences of a Jewish-born Central European intellectual not unlike the author, it is not an autobiographical narrative, or even a conventional novel. Rather, it is an extraordinarily sharp though fragmented evocation of episodes from the life of a woman named Marion whose meditations and relentless self-interrogation are as intellectually stirring as the vividly rendered recollections." The last piece in the section is "On the Road", a "muted and beautiful" (Lee Yew Leong) piece of writing by Balázs Györe, translated by John Batki.

The website of Asymptote Journal

Tags: Asymptote Journal