More than just three "Portraits of a
Marriage", as promised by the title, Márai's novel, now translated into English, paints three portraits of a society, a class, and
an era in Hungary—from the interwar years to the aftermath of World
War II and the beginning of the Communist era.
Judit Kováts’s novel is written from the viewpoint of a 19-year-old girl during the Soviet occupation as she is trying to escape Russian soldiers, bombs and forced labour. How is oral history transformed into literature? – An interview with the author.
The so-called intellectual elements ended up in my books as
naturally as a folk song would, in the manner of flowers of the field that had no knowledge of “high culture” or “deep philosophy”, and did
not even seek it.
His long, beautifully written secret reports were highly critical of my works, many of which he helped to complete. He called them “the products of a madman” to his state security employers. “Let us give him more state commissions,” he wrote in one of his reports, “so he won’t have time for his own anti-socialist stupidities.”