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.
"Zehuze" – that's how it goes: this quasi-magical phrase returns over and over again in this monumental novel composed of letters written by a mother to her daughter. The daughter returns to her mother's native land, Hungary, from her land of birth, Palestine, to build a happy new world...
A publisher of innovative and experimental
work from the beginning, New Directions’s main
aim today is to make the works of foreign writers known in the US. We
talked to Barbara Epler, editor-in-chief of New Directions at the Budapest Book Festival.
"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."
Oh, those late harvests! There were three starts to the school year: the first time at the beginning of September but a few days later the whole school would be working on the vintage, then it would be lessons again, but then at the end of October we would pick the late-ripened Aszú grapes, and afterwards, sadly, it would be school again.