RÉKA MÁN-VÁRHEGYI: Sketch for Something Else

Magdi has uncontrollable bursts of anger, Ági has 10,000 followers, Györgyi has a husband with a career in politics, Anikó is having difficulties writing her novel. Réka Mán-Várhegyi’s book consists of four long short-stories offering a glimpse into the everyday life of four middle-class Hungarian women in their forties in the time of the pandemic.

Their monologues reveal the mental state of people during of the lockdowns, the variety of individual strategies for survival. Magdi is in therapy in order to understand the causes of her bursts of rage, constantly analysing and blaming herself. Ági has become an influencer despite hating the whole virtual world and the hypocrisy it involves: it is precisely doing yoga with unshaven legs and greasy hair that has made her so wildly popular. As for Györgyi, her rich politician husband disappears during a holiday in Croatia and she has to start her life again from scratch. The story of Anikó shows the difficulties of the life of a writer when she is a woman with a small child.

Réka Mán-Várhegyi depicts what must inevitably be fragments from the life of her characters with biting irony and profound sympathy. Through them we are able to gain an appreciation of the preoccupations of our time, from climate anxiety, through feminism, to self-help techniques and the aesthetics of ‘wellness’.

I do yoga in the kitchen, if there’s nowhere else. Practising the morning salutations of the sun, I take loud and harsh ujjayi breaths. Perhaps that’s why, as I move, there rise up in my mind’s eye images of public figures that I execrate.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1441 74 1
2022, paperback with flaps
192 pages, 3499 HUF

Réka Mán-Várhegyi