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.
An accurate enough version of a contemporary, disillusioned Hungarian zeitgeist, this novel is an uncompromising rebellion against consumerism, bourgeois values, and ultimately, all the banalities of social norms and interpersonal Catch-22’s.
László Krasznahorkai is not a fashionable writer. He is marching directly against what the age is about: that literature should become part of the entertainment industry. He is failing to adapt smoothly to what is going on. This art is powerfully pitched against the intention to skim through life laughing or just sticking it out as best you can without taking any particular risk.
"...if I have a delusion, I am insane. But you just said that I am insane. In that case, my belief is not a delusion, but a correct idea. Therefore I have no delusion. Therefore I am not, after all, insane. It is only a delusion that I am insane; hence I have a delusion; hence I am insane; hence I am right; hence I am not insane." – Two sketches from the 1930s on the traps and paradoxes of psychiatry, translated by Thomas Szasz, the renowned antipsychiatrist.
Oh, those late harvests! There were three starts to the school year: the first time at the beginning of September but a few days later the whole school would be working on the vintage, then it would be lessons again, but then at the end of October we would pick the late-ripened Aszú grapes, and afterwards, sadly, it would be school again.