A volume made up of 17 short stories, introduced by a Dedication in memory of the author’s parents, The Deceptive-looking Guest is a harrowingly personal book that meditates on the interconnectedness of historical and personal, family traumas, and whose predominantly first-person narrators occasionally ”inhabit” the bodies and identities of strangers, close or distant family members, switching gender. Most of the stories walk the line between an enhanced, hyper-lucid perception of the world of objects and persons, and a pervasive oneiric, nightmarish mode, erupting in memorable images, all the more intense for the rigorously bare language used. In a subdued way, these stories offer an anatomy of personal responsibility and of the functioning of dictatorships. Many also have as subtexts, or respond to, passages from the Divine Comedy, St. John of the Cross, Pessoa, or Borges – texts/authors with which the author engaged creatively, having also translated some. The setting is mostly Budapest, portrayed as a terrain of loneliness and indistinct threat; the time encompasses the (silenced) troubles of the postwar and post-1956 periods, the consolidated placidity of the 1970s-80s, up to the years after the regime change when resurfacing neonationalism and neofascism brought out the complicit continuities in power. Takács’s stories, just like her poetry, belong to the most intense and unique writings of melancholy in our time.
ISBN 978 963 1425 60 4
2007, hard cover with jacket
200 pages, 123 × 184 mm
English excerpts and detailed synopsis available