The protagonist in this book is communism itself, one of the most dominant ideas and historical practices of modernity. More precisely, the book is about what we in this country mean by communism: the daily practice of a dictatorship which was born with the idea of communism standing by its cradle.
"The stuff of this novel is closer to an anthropological or ethical description – it is more attuned to answering the question 'what sort of a being is man?' And in answering this it will treat other people’s opinions and beliefs as simple raw material, just as a doctor who gives a person an anaesthetic and does not take into account their sensitivities in other walks of life or worry about their nakedness."
"The good Prince Silence is not a wicked prince; it is the greatest power, and I was thinking not only of when you go alone by night and frighten off the terrible, fearsome silence, but also that it would be all up with me if ever in my life I allowed a silence dreader than Death to descend upon me." (Endre Ady, 1910)
In common with most British schoolchildren, I didn't receive much grounding in Hungarian literature. Even when, in my teenage years, I started exploring the literature of other (and in those days Hungary was particularly 'other') European cultures, Hungary was conspicuous by its absence.