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.
At the most basic level this novel is, one might say, the story of the kind of fate that might have befallen György (Gyuri) Köves, the 14- going on 15-year-old protagonist of Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness had he not been deported to Auschwitz six months earlier, though most likely both authors would insist—rightly—that their chosen methods—and, indeed, the experiences they underwent—are very different.
" In Russia, women are considered the better, more noble half of society, and I attempt to illustrate and emphasize this in my work." – Russian author Ludmila Ulitskaya spoke with us at the Budapest Book Festival, where she was this year's Guest of Honour.
"From between the creases of fabric / gapes / a face, like the countenance of Europe scorned. / It spits / into the distance, but does not speak. It reflects, / like thought itself. Above, the floodlit city / looks to a new epoch. The escalator / rises into the heights, and creates correspondences, / like a metaphor degraded in the course of time / into a simile. The mind listens."
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.