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.
Sándor Márai’s novel burst onto the literary scene at the Frankfurt Book Fair of 1999, thanks to the English and the German translations. In Hungarian the book is having its renaissance. Still, from time to time, we hear voices which talk, in tones of disapproval or apology, about it being overrated, bemoaning the stormy success of a work supposedly inferior to other pieces of the oeuvre.
Literary historian Thomas Cooper talks to Imre Kertész in this new
volume published in the Seagull Books series of The University of
Chicago Press. An excerpt from the interview and Cooper's fine
introductory essay, published here by courtesy of the publisher.
"None of the hysterics and blue funk whether my water’s gonna hold out, and with the groom whispering, even at the church door, you better say no, you bra buster bitch, if you value your life. None of that, love, no! They’re standing there like a pair of lovebirds, all blatant marzipan head to foot, and the three of them weighing in at a hundred pounds if one, cross my heart and hope to die."
Is there anything more exasperating than understanding that we all participate in the same dance of death? Perpetrators and victims, givers and receivers of prizes, Jews and non-Jews, anti-Semites and philo-Semites, irrespective of culture and skin colour.