Zsuzsa Rakovszky: Sign of the Times

Münster, the 1530s. Tensions are growing between Catholics and Protestants. As emotions are running high, radical Anabaptists seize the city hall, and proclaim that Münster, under their rule, is the ‘New Jerusalem.’

The story of the Münster rebellion – a story of escalating religious fanaticism and revolutionary zeal, madness and terror – is told by an eyewitness, Liza, the mute servant girl, who sees and hears everything. As she cannot talk, people – including her master, Bernhard Knipperdolling, a wealthy patrician who becomes one of the leaders of the rebellion – readily speak their mind in front of her.

Sign of the Times is a historical novel in which almost all the characters are real and the events are true, even the most unlikely ones – the blind belief in two prophets (a former baker and a former tailor), the radicals’ introduction of polygamy, the massacre of the last days, and the gruesome revenge of the expelled bishop. Rakovszky has a remarkable talent for storytelling and for transporting the reader effortlessly into a world long gone, with all its paraphernalia and everyday activities.

However, this is not merely a historical novel: by recounting all the twists and turns of the story of the Münster rebellion as it relentlessly proceeds towards its terrible end, Rakovszky also tells a timeless story that is painfully relevant to our times: she shows how the legitimate grievances of people and their desire for freedom and justice can be used by impostors who, when they come to power, manipulate the people into complying with even the most insane demands.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1442 37 3
2022, hard cover with jacket
312 pages, 5499 HUF

Zsuzsa Rakovszky


Krisztián Grecsó: Something Folksy

Short stories

In Grecsó’s new collection, many of the stories are born of the tension and confusion resulting from the meeting of two worlds. In some of the stories, these two worlds are the city and the village; in others, it is the present and the past. And, importantly, there is the world of the healthy and that of the sick. The severe illness from which the author has only recently recovered is a theme or motif in many of the stories.

The first part of the book consists of traditional ‘long’ short stories, where the point of departure is a scene or a place in the present which leads the narrator to recount some event in the past – in the 30s or 50s of the last century – with repercussions in the present. The stories in the second part, very personal in tone, are all about one man’s life at various points in time; those in the third are interrelated in the sense that the minor characters in one turn up as protagonists in others; and several of those in the fourth and final section are experiments in writing about happiness.

In narratives which oscillate between fiction, autofiction and autobiography, the author tells of village houses that are left half-completed, mere caricatures of their owners’ towering ambitions, and of places in Budapest that are missing from the tourist guidebooks, or that have already disappeared – like former factories replaced by sprawling housing estates. As for his characters, they come from all walks of life: we get glimpses into the lives of editors of literary magazines, unemployed Gypsy women, taxi drivers and shop assistants. Grecsó’s characters feel painfully alone in the crowd, yet this overwhelming loneliness is offset by the reader’s sense that our fates are intertwined, even if we are unaware of the fact, or indeed resist it. Grecsó loves and understands his characters, and there is in his stories an undercurrent of hopefulness, in spite of disappointments and tragedies.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1441 55 0
2022, hard cover with jacket
288 pages, 125×280 mm
3999 HUF

Krisztián Grecsó


Szilárd Rubin (1927-2010)

Born in Budapest in 1927, Szilárd Rubin lost his mother at the age of ten. His father and other members of his family died by violence. Rubin’s first book, Playing Chicken was published in 1963. Although it went against the expectations of socialist realism, some of his contemporaries immediately realized its value, with writer Miklós Szentkuthy calling the book a “true-blooded, modern Werther.” Playing Chicken was rediscovered in the 1990s. Rubin wrote five books, two of which earned him a late, but worldwide recognition: his unique and concise writing, mixing sentimentality with cruel self-examination has been compared to works of Marcel Proust, William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Rubin died in 2010 in Tapolca, Hungary after a long illness.


NOÉMI KISS: Thin Angels


kiis_noemi_sovany-cimterv-4-veglegesHow 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.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 14 3254 1
2015, hard cover with jacket
296 pages, 123×184 mm
3290 HUF

Rights sold
German, Europa Verlag
North Macedonian, ILI-ILI

Complete German text and English excerpt available

Noémi Kiss