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.
A stark depiction of life in a Hungarian village under communism as seen from the perspective of a young child, Ferenc Barnás’ novel The Ninth recounts the events of roughly a year in the life of a young boy and his family’s struggle to subsist by circumventing and exploiting the peculiarities of the socialist system as best they are able.
In his new novel Imre Oravecz tells the story of a Hungarian immigrant family in America at the end of the 19th century. We talked to the writer about the genesis of the novel, about how he left Hungary three times, and why he always came back.
In 1996 I visited Hungary for the first time in 18 years. I came from New York with my laptop and a thoroughly Americanized mind. I found the country completely different from the grey death camp I left almost two decades ago. It was now a bursting, yet somehow utterly depressed and depressing Balkan bazaar, a kind of Mad Max land in King Ubu’s empire, where most people I met were in a bad mood.