"I wanted to know who, why and how was involved in ruining the first half of my life." - Poet Zsófia Balla moved from Romania to Hungary shortly after the regime change in 1989. We asked her about her decision to request the surveillance file by the Romanian Secret Service (the Securitate) targeting her during communism.
A new collection by Miklós Radnóti has been published in English, in the translation of John Ridland and Péter Czipott. The volume spans the poet's entire output, from his carefree early love lyrics to the poems composed during forced labor and the death march that finally took his life.
Zsigmond Móricz's Gold in the Mud is a novel that does things with words; it is a novel which deploys an inexorable naturalism and a typifying exaggeration of its characters to express a clear message – serfdom is paralyzing for the aspirational and all-devouring for the ordinary.
A classic of Hungarian literature, this novel tells the story of a peasant Don Juan and leader of a village who, torn between the torpid bliss of his home life and a seething quest for prosperity, follows his urge to break the bonds of his low social status.
He gave his counter-argument, but it was sketchy and sweaty and desperate and above all: angry. The hush that followed testified that I had won the audience over, and put me at ease. We fell silent. No applause, not a single sound came. Then somebody in the first row said quite audibly, "What a pair of narcistic dumbfucks!"
In 2002 a Jewish man recalls the dying days of the Hungary’s Nazi occupation and how, as a fourteen-year-old, he and his family were to be sent to the death camps before coming under the protection of legendary Swiss Vice-Consul, Carl Lutz. – An excerpt from Iván Sándor’s haunting novel, newly translated into English.