Benedek Totth's award-winning debut novel Dead Heat is soon to be published in English by a Canadian publishing house, Biblioasis. Now you can read an excerpt from the novel here at HLO.
translated from the Hungarian by Ildikó Noémi Nagy
Benedek Totth won the Margó Literature Prize (for the best debut novel of the year) in 2015. His book entitled Dead Heat is
about rootless and difficult teenagers who swim and compete professionally. As the author put it in the interview he gave to HLO, he
didn't want to write the novel about any specific generation. "I just had this story, these characters in my mind and I found a language, a style or diction that seemed to work, that had some kind of power, and it was good to use it for writing about these kids. I was never the rebel type so maybe it's some kind of delayed rebellion for me, something I didn't dare to do when I was that age. Actually, I didn't do any research about teenagers; however, at least judging by the reactions the book had, somehow I managed to put my finger on something that bothers many people these days. But, of course, this is not a documentarist novel, but rather pitch dark satire."
"You can read this novel as Young Adult fiction, but you can also read it as a bildungsroman
, or a Central European teenage thriller… and it has a hint of the classic road trip, or maybe that’s just me. Totth has been translating outstanding authors into Hungarian for years, among them such classics as Aldous Huxley, living legends like Cormac McCarthy, cult comic writers (Neil Gaiman) and the ever-popular Suzanne Collins. So he’s had some good masters to learn from… but then again, maybe he was just born talented. From the very first sentences, he pulls his reader into the thick of the story and leaves them panting for breath, though nothing much happens that wouldn’t happen in any corner of the country of an evening when a group of teens gets together in someone’s dad’s borrowed (or filched) car" – You can read more about the book in our review here
Dead Heat is soon to be published by Biblioasis
, an award-winning independent publishing house based in Windsor, Ontario. The novel is translated from the Hungarian by Ildikó Noémi Nagy.