When renowned film director Péter Gárdos wrote the story, he intended it as a film script, but eventually he made it into a novel. “Fever at Dawn,” the love story of two Holocaust survivors―the author’s parents―has ever since sold in more than 20 territories.
It would be very hard to find anything more absurd and nonsensical than the Hungarian army of the Socialist era. Face and About-Face recounts the unique experience of the one-year compulsory army service that young men who had been admitted to college or university had to complete before starting their studies.
Agota Kristof (70) paid a brief visit to Budapest for the first time after four years. This time, she was participating in the 'Exile' programme focussing on emigrant authors from Eastern Europe. Agota Kristof arrived in Neuchâtel as a refugee in 1956 with her husband and young baby, and she has lived there ever since.
"What I was able to create... a couple of novels of
various lengths, five or six volumes of short stories and two plays, I
created more or less in secret, and I did so in the precious few hours I
was able to wrench from the inexorable march of history. Perhaps this
is why I have always striven for economy and precision, looking for the
essence, often in haste."
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.