How does a woman arrive at the point of killing her husband? Is her failure due to her body, her marriage or history? Why does she want a child at all costs? And why does society stigmatize her if she doesn’t manage to have one?
We are in the Hungary of the 1980s, in the midst of goulash communism. A forty-year-old teacher, Lívia is waiting for the sentence of the court in a hospital where she lies as she had a heart attack after killing her husband. She is trying to piece together the mosaics of her life: how she met her husband, a well-known sportsman she had been in love with as a teenager; how they struggled to have a child and how they gave up; how they lived through the period of the regime change; and how they realized that they cannot escape each other.
Noémi Kiss’s novel breaks the silence around such taboos as infertility, the cumbersome procedure of adoption and child abuse.
A mother: not me.
ISBN 978 963 14 3254 1
2015, hard cover with jacket
296 pages, 123×184 mm
German, Europa Verlag
Complete German text and English excerpt available
Iván Sándor is a writer, essayist and playwright born in 1930. Laureate of the Attila József Prize (1985), the Sándor Márai Prize (2000) and the Pro Literatura Prize (2001), among others, he has written forty books to date. Several of his books were published in foreign languages; Követés (Legacy) has appeared in English, French and German.
Photo © Lenke Szilágyi
An extraordinary, upsetting and profoundly honest story about communist Romania in the 1980s, this book is the memoir of a young girl and a witness account of a dark era. She is only 18, and she wants to become a ballet dancer. As Romanian citizens of Hungarian nationality, her family has a plan: she enters into a sham marriage with a Hungarian, and her parents will soon follow her to Hungary and relative freedom. Due to an unexpected turn of events, her parents make it to Hungary first, and she stays in Romania all on her own, confronted with Ceauşescu’s state bureaucracy. This, then, will be her life setting for the following year when some of the most important events of her young life are about to take place: her ballet exam, her final year in secondary school. And the effective liquidation of all their former life in Romania.
A real ”Everyday Life in a Dictatorship for Dummies”
ISBN 978 963 1431 70 4
2016, hard cover with jacket
224 pages, 135×197 mm
Polish, Świat Książki
German excerpts available
San Francisco in the 1890s. A young man has had enough of the oppressive world of the family household and a society that offers little to him, and chooses a life of adventure and experience. Wandering around on land and sea, encountering love and passion, he finally grows into an adult. This novel invites the reader to join the protagonist on a magic journey to the unpredictable landscapes of human nature. It is a kaleidoscope-like narrative that can be read as a Bildungsroman, a novel of adventure, or a love story. Though at times the events and characters evoke the life of Jack London, this book is not about the American writer but about how to become Jack London.
Finding love and adventure in the footsteps of Jack London
ISBN 978 963 1432 44 2
2016, hard cover with jacket
564 pages, 120×197 mm
A story in snapshots
Judit Szaniszló’s book is like an Eastern European Bridget Jones’s Diary. The world of a thirty-something woman in Hungary unfolds from this book, with familiar, everyday problems – loneliness, relationships, life in an office – presented from a fresh and original perspective. Szaniszló, who is also a blogger, writes clear and simple stories in a style that is immediately accessible and yet of high literary quality – one reviewer dubbed it as ‘a literary reality show.’ These are cheeky, acerbic and sensitive stories, leaving the reader curious as to what will become of the protagonist, with whom it is easy to identify and whom it is easy to like.
An Eastern European Bridget Jones’s Diary in the style of Jonathan Franzen
György Petri Award 2015
ISBN 978 963 1433 74 6
2016, hard cover with jacket
144 pages, 115×184 mm
English excerpt available
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