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TIBOR NOÉ KISS: Get Some Sleep 

Kiss Tibor Noé - Aludnod kelleneA dilapidated poultry farm, which has seen better days, somewhere in the recent past in Hungary. Some people are left behind there. Their personalities slowly vanish, like a haematoma. They’re not even on the map. The past is amnesiac. The present is blind. But what might happen to them on the edges? Quite a lot. Tibor Noé Kiss’s talent as a short story writer scans and illuminates this borderland like a subtle, invisible drone. From the mosaic pieces of Get Some Sleep a novel of stasis takes shape, with detailed and accurate, atmospheric prose, which describes the desperate patterns of action of passive structures and vegetative forms of existence, and the final human struggles, with cruel clarity and unrelenting irony, sometimes dipping into melancholy.

 

Pink knickers on the ground. On the knickers teddy-bears, bunnies and fawns sleep. The knickers fell out of a sports bag. She won’t be coming back for them.

 

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1431 73 5
2014, hard cover with jacket
144 pages, 125×197 mm
2690 HUF

 

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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, Chicken Game 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.” Chicken Game 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.

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SZILÁRD RUBIN: Roman Numeral One 

Rubin Szilárd - Római egyesOriginally published in 1985 and republished in 2010 to great critical acclaim, Roman Numeral One is a poetic recollection of an impossible love story between a middle-aged writer who “has grown old but has never managed to grow up,” and an enigmatic, fiercely independent and frivolous dentist called Piroska. As the narrator waits for the long hoped-for return of his lover in a provincial thermal bath, he recalls in carefully ordered fragments his youth in war-torn Hungary, the poor but glamorous life of artists in the seventies – including his long therapeutic stay at Karlovy Vary during the film festival – and the curious events of his love with Piroska, constantly changing between sheer hopelessness and ruthless joy.

 

Product details
ISBN 978 963 14 2763 9
2010, hard cover with jacket
132 pages
2290 HUF

Rights sold
German, Rowohlt
Dutch, Van Gennep

Szilárd Rubin

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SZILÁRD RUBIN: Chicken Game 

Rubin Szilárd - CsirkejátékThe title refers to a game where players have to hold out sitting on rails as long as possible despite a train rushing towards them. The novel is the story of two young lovers in post-World War II Hungary. Attila is a poor, aspiring writer, and Orsolya is the descendant of a rich bourgeois German family. Attila has felt drawn to Orsolya since they were children, but he dares speak to her for the first time only after the war, when  she returns from burned down Dresden to her former home town near Budapest, still marked by her recovery from typhus. Because her family is German, their former riches are all gone, and they have to rebuild from scratch their pharmacy which they had once owned. In contrast, Attila seems to emerge as a winner under the new socialist rule – so the two form an unlikely coalition turned upside down. But the obstacles Attila and Orsolya face are strikingly similar to the old days.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 14 23709
2004, hard cover with jacket
216 pages
2490 HUF

Rights sold
German, Rowohlt
French, Galaade
Polish, Studio Emka
Turkish, Dedalus
Spanish, Backlist
Dutch, Van Gennep
Slovak, Slovart
Portugal,
Italian, Rizzoli

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SZILÁRD RUBIN: Holy Innocents 

Image result for aprószentek rubinThe Hungarian town of Törökszentmiklós was held in a grip of terror by a serial killer between October 1953 and August 1954. Five young girls disappeared without trace during those months until a young woman by the name of Piroska Jancsó was arrested in the autumn of 1954 who was later sentenced to death for her crimes.

Fictional reportage? A Hungarian In Cold Blood? Rubin’s voyage into a dark and bleak reality? Or the battle of an aging and lonely author with his source material?

Perhaps the novel is a little of all these things. Holy Innocents is Szilárd Rubin’s ultimate novel and the fruit of four decades of work now published posthumously for the first time.

Product details
ISBN 978 963 1430 011
2012, hard cover with jacket
284 pages
2990 HUF

Rights sold
German, Rowohlt
Hebrew, Am Oved
Bulgarian, Ergo

A great writer’s battle with a dark mystery

 

Szilárd Rubin

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RÉKA MÁN-VÁRHEGYI: Unhappiness at the Aurora Housing Estate

aurora-borito188Hailed as a surprisingly mature first volume, Unhappiness at the Aurora Housing Estate (2014) is a collection of fourteen short stories organized in three cycles. The narrators and main characters of these stories are often intellectuals – students, artists, scholars – and other middle-class characters who are trying to find their place in the world. Many of them are frustrated and self-reflective, intent on changing their lives and achieving happiness and success, yet more often than not they fail to do so. They are scared of looking and behaving like their parents or becoming like the people around them. Their strategies and the difficulties they face are described with an irony and sharpness that does not spare anyone yet seems to understand everyone, from the successful performance artist to the grandmother who feels unloved by her family.

Many of the stories are centered around the topic of coming-of-age, the loss of youth, and aging. From the seventeen-year-old twins trying to find their identity while struggling with depression, bulimia and lack of love (“So Long, Adolescence”) to the university lecturer who is jealous of her young students (“Two Soft Slaps in the Face”), these characters are afraid of alienation and loneliness. Their strategies vary from esotericism (“Every Line”) to trying to find a companion on dating sites (“The Portrait”).

In other stories, the conflict between East and West, or between Budapest and the rest of the country appears as one of the causes of the characters’ inability to find their identity. Mán-Várhegyi is at her best when she describes intellectuals and artists who are hovering between East and West, like the performance artist in “The Weight of Inspiration,” disdained as an overentitled rich woman in Hungary and admired as a wild Eastern European in the US.

The stories that end each cycle are stories of Kafkaesque transformations in which the narrator wakes up in another body: a woman becomes Lionel Messi (“Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot“), a three-year-old boy believes he is a woman (“Root”), someone becomes her own grandmother (“Good Faith, Bad Luck”).

In Mán-Várhegyi’s stories, there are no big conflicts or traumas, only the unhappiness and hopelessness of everyday life, narrated in a provocative yet natural, steady-paced, non-triumphalist tone.

Rights sold
Italian, Spider and Fish

Réka Mán-Várhegyi

 

 

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Zsuzsa Takács

Image result for takács zsuzsaZsuzsa Takács (b. 1938) is the doyenne of contemporary Hungarian poetry, winner of all the major Hungarian literary awards. She started publishing in the early 1970s, to develop a consciously understated, slightly elegiac lyric voice coupled with profoundly personal themes, addressing both private and historical traumas. Her work is widely anthologized, and has been translated into English by George Szirtes, Laura Schiff, Ottilie Mulzet among others. She lives in Budapest.

The Deceptive-looking Guest