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.
The events within the castle and the pursuit of the MS are saturated in a tone of frivolity, where the chief topoi and motifs of European culture are turned inside out with an elegant and nonchalant sleight of a hand, a silk-gloved one. As an added bonus, the attentive reader gains a tremendous wealth of erudition in this totally pain-free process.
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.
If one looked around, there were ten-storey apartment blocks stood
everywhere, as far as the eye could see... For me, the whole of this scenery was at once familiar and
reassuring. I had seen it continually since my childhood, an endless
cross-hatching grid extending outwards in every direction...
Spotless collars, handkerchiefs white as snow gleam around Emerenc
Szeredás; no sick person remains untended, no street unswept. Yet in the
world of consolidating socialism of the Hungary of the 1960s, the
harshness and strange lifestyle of this ex-servant somehow seems
irritating and inscrutable.