Winner of the Libri Literary Prize 2019
In Edina Szvoren’s fourth short story collection, which carries the deceptive title My Poems, several characters are engaged in writing: stepping outside reality in a way that still keeps them part of it. The poems of one female character are accepted for publication by a major daily newspaper, which changes her relationship with her father, who now looks at her daughter through totally different eyes. A male character keeps track of his daily life with his wife by filling up notebooks. Szvoren’s “absurd realist” world abounds in secrets and obsessions. The female character of the story entitled “Let Me Tell You Something About My Life” has served time for bestiality. The mother of the narrator of one story becomes so infatuated with her tenant that they conspire to lock up the narrator in a bedlinen drawer, while in another story a woman is obsessed with a physics teacher’s YouTube videos. The narrator of “Visitors,” who is responsible for a car accident, is repeatedly tormented by imaginary prison inmates even though she has been acquitted.
Szvoren, who is intrigued by “the prosaic character of the sublime and the poetic character of the trivial”, chronicles the “complex, morose” details of the working hours of employees in an office block (“I’ve Been Through This, This Has Happened Before”), the pros and cons of owning a trailer (“The Daughter of the Thief-God Lives in Elek”). As she says about the creative process: “One unimportant thing leads me to another, that to a third, and I end up working with the fourth – that’s the way it goes. It seems that when I write I am not trying to nail something down… but to re-create something from the building blocks of reality, creating these Lego structures at random.”
It is not only the formal rigour of her sentences, their bone-chilling perfection, that makes Edina Szvoren’s new volume of stories worth savouring. Her unsparing psychological sensitivity and all-penetrating vision reach simultaneously into the very depths of human beings and into their relationships with each other, while being capable of making one feel absolutely anything, even if that should happen to be banal.” (Tibor Noé Kiss)
Review on hlo.hu
2018, hard cover with jacket
212 pages, 120 × 190 mm
Serbian, Darma Books