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.
The first volume of poet Szilárd Borbély to appear in English, Berlin-Hamlet, has just been issued by the Prague publishing house Agite-Fra, in the translation of Ottilie Mulzet, who also contributed an essay that we reproduce here in a shortened form.
"A big motivation for me in writing The Sisters Brothers was to do things you don't normally see in the
western genre. Typically, for example, the killers in a western are
nearly mute, and sort of stupid, or cruel. So I made my killer
protagonist a talkative, smart, poetic neurotic."
One of the Hungarian literary sensations of the last decade, Jadviga's Pillow (1997) was an oddity in Hungary, being both a critical and a public success. The novel, portraying life in a Slovak village in Hungary between the two world wars, was recently published in German under the title Das Kissen der Jadviga.
They say that about 7% of the total population of Hungary worked for or collaborated with the feared secret police in Hungary. What happened to these people after the change of the regime? Most of those who are still alive and employable are doing well. They became politicians, curators, and heads of cultural institutions.