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ÁRPÁD KUN: Molly Male

Medárdus has emigrated from Hungary to Norway, where he lives with his wife and three children, with a fourth on the way. He makes his living as a carer in an old people’s home and as a home help: his day’s work done, he is able to devote himself to bringing up his children in ideal circumstances. The narrator, alongside his numerous family and work commitments, focuses on a single activity important to him: cutting short his sleep, he regularly gets up before daybreak to work on his novel.

This busy and hardworking life is upended when Medárdus, driving two of his daughters, crashes his car. Though no one is hurt, the accident sets off a chain reaction of events in the outside world as well as in the lives of those involved. A mysterious African refugee surfaces and becomes a close friend of the émigré Hungarian. With his help Medárdus discovers and explores a system of caves beneath his house that is home to exceptionally rare and valuable mushrooms.

Molly Male offers a highly distinctive fusion of reality and fantasy. The accident, though technically survived, nevertheless triggers a process that takes increasingly strange turns that leave us with no idea of where and how it might end. The narrator’s failure to get a decent night’s sleep results in the life-story of a Hungarian-Norwegian family – which begins by depicting the life-affirming dignity of manual labour and a father’s everyday life amid the inhospitable landscape of western Norway – gradually acquiring a surreal quality. Yet thanks to the good-humoured and sympathetic tone so characteristic of Árpád Kun’s novels, somehow this comes to seem completely natural. The reader cannot tell where reality ends and fantasy begins, without ever feeling as though they have lost their bearings.

“It seems that everyone is constantly asserting how wretched life is, yet no one ever points out that every moment you have survived is an enormous anomaly. Every moment is a gift: look how fortunate you are it wasn’t you that died.” (Árpád Kun in an interview)

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1441 72 7
2022, hard cover with jacket
304 pages, 140×35 mm
4499 HUF

Árpád Kun