The title refers to a game where players have to hold out sitting on rails as long as possible despite a train rushing towards them. The novel is the story of two young lovers in post-World War II Hungary. Attila is a poor, aspiring writer, and Orsolya is the descendant of a rich bourgeois German family. Attila has felt drawn to Orsolya since they were children, but he dares speak to her for the first time only after the war, when she returns from burned down Dresden to her former home town near Budapest, still marked by her recovery from typhus. Because her family is German, their former riches are all gone, and they have to rebuild from scratch their pharmacy which they had once owned. In contrast, Attila seems to emerge as a winner under the new socialist rule – so the two form an unlikely coalition turned upside down. But the obstacles Attila and Orsolya face are strikingly similar to the old days.
A meteor or a Martian (Péter Esterházy)
ISBN 978 963 14 23709
2004, hard cover with jacket
Polish, Studio Emka
Dutch, Van Gennep