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.
ISBN 978 963 1441 55 0
2022, hard cover with jacket
288 pages, 125×280 mm