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.
Márai’s oeuvre was shaken out of its coma after 1989, when his works were first published in Hungary, then later went on to reach international success. By leaving Hungary in 1948, he made a decision that proved to be fateful from the point of view of his oeuvre’s future in his native land; at the same time, it was a natural extension of an exile intended to be a symbolically powerful, moral reminder.
Captivity was a conscious emigration into the great events of a great era. Our world here, the world we were socialised into, is a small and shabby world. Being part of a small nation is usually not favourable for great prose and drama.
Giving form to our ultimate abstractions, ultimate desires, notions that transcend our imagination. Just like the eternal agony of art to find a form for the incomprehensible. What kind of form? A human form. Limited rather than boundless; personal rather than infinite; fragile and mortal.
L had been an unemployed steel worker from Miskolc and had been attracted by an advertisement in a major Hungarian newspaper offering work in England. He went to an office in Budapest, was told about the job and presented with a contract that he signed. The contract was in English, not in Hungarian and he signed without understanding it.