The Gravel Pit Lake did well enough in Hungary but, undeservedly, failed to raise any particular storms. It took a German audience to come and throw laurels amid the waves of the lake. Over the past months, directly after its publication in German translation, the book was lauded in superlatives by the most prestigious dailies and literary forums.
Elina Hirvonen, a Finnish writer and filmmaker visited Budapest on the occasion of the publication of her second novel in Hungarian. We talked to her about Africa, motherhood, and the link between suffering and strength.
The arrival of capital was quiet, swift, and effective, like an assassin’s work. Suddenly its presence became visible everywhere: its smell, the scent of money, could be detected even through the exhaust fumes. Budapest became irrevocably sexy.
The commander of the death-squad personally responsible for the murder of Miklós Radnóti – perhaps the greatest poet of the Holocaust well known in English translation – escaped retribution for the deed. His remains rest in official burial grounds reserved for the heroes of the Hungarian Republic.