A Masked Ball
Mosaic pieces of a family novel
Two girls are found dead in a village sometime in the 1960s. The third one is still alive when they find her, but by the time the doctor arrives, the wounded girl has already disappeared. Her boyfriend, a young policeman, stumbles across the truth decades later in Budapest after a strange meeting. From this enigmatic detective story the mosaic of a family novel unfolds. The characters in A Masked Ball set off from the same village, disperse, and meet at certain junctions. The stories are about encounters which reveal forgotten or repressed events, forcing people to take off the masks they have donned since their departure. A Masked Ball is a story that stretches to the current day, about people who live their lives, searching for each other, themselves, or their biological mother. Each chapter of Krisztián Grecsó’s new novel provides a snapshot, as if every story was the life of a different member of the family or a neighbour. Their paths crisscross until the dramatic whole takes shape.
Ordinary people – extraordinary secrets. A family novel where the reader plays detective.
In a dusty village in the Great Hungarian Plain, Daru, nearly a teenager, is fighting for his position as gang leader, for his self-respect and his love—in other words, for his life. As Daru makes his way through the maze of emotional trails, past and future, in every relationship he loses something of himself, and dies a little. This way, he comes of age. Although the wounds and scabs multiply, and his heart becomes thick-skinned, he eventually finds love in a mature relationship. How better to tell someone’s life story than through the story of their loves? As we explore Daru’s story, we are reminded of our own bitter-sweet moments and years.
‘I hate to cut off their wings… But if they have wings, they will fly.’
There’s Room for you beside me
A haunting family story of desire and loneliness spanning a hundred years. When the protagonist and narrator of the novel is asked by a local newspaper to write an incident article about an old family photograph, this seemingly harmless task entangles him in a web of mysteries and elusive family mythology. Past and present mingle as tribal secrets and mysteries, stories of adultery, jealousy, homosexuality, friendship and betrayal unravel before the eyes of the reader, and the truth is gradually revealed about a long-forgotten—and long-concealed—family history.
Aegon Award 2012, 10 printings, more than 25,000 copies sold.
A hundred years of family history, mystery and long-concealed secrets unfold from a single photograph and an old journal. Can the past redeem the present?
Croatian, Naklada Jurcic
Hope to See You Home Again
A family of four sets out to cross Europe in an old Suzuki. They are leaving Hungary to find home in the ‘happy north.’ Similarly to Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, the narrator of Árpád Kun’s new book shares the author’s name and personal history, yet this is not an autobiography but a true-blooded novel. In an era of displacement and migration, here is a novel which documents the emigration of a young Hungarian couple to Norway. As the family is making the decision to leave, the protagonist starts to travel back in time, to his childhood, his university years and his attempts to land a job in Budapest, Brussels and Bordeaux. A fascinating guidebook about finding our own path without ceasing to love our ancestors, Hope to See You Home Again is also a novel about young people in Hungary at the turn of the 21st century.
The story of a young Hungarian couple’s emigration to Norway
The hero of this novel, Aimé Billion, is a real outsider who feels as a stranger not only in Africa or Europe, but even in his own body. Of Yoruba, Vietnamese and French descent, he is considered a white man by Africans, and an African by white people. Aimé spends the first thirty-eight years of his life in Benin, where he works as a nursing assistant. He then moves to Norway, a country where even neighbours are strangers to each other. Yet it is there that he finds happiness in an extraordinary love relationship. From traditional voodoo practices to the intricacies of life in the most affluent welfare society, Aimé charts everything with the same affability and curiosity. Happy North is a novel in which magic realism meets ‘plain’ realism to bring strange worlds to the reader and make them heart-achingly familiar.
A beautiful tale on being a stranger and finding a home
Winner of the Aegon Award, for outstanding literary achievement
Czech, Volvox Globátor
Spanish, Tropo Editores
English, German and Norwegian excerpts available
The Best Headsman in the Land
Is one supposed to be overjoyed if the best executioner in the country moves in next door? How does a mother feel if she is only allowed to meet her child for breastfeeding—a child who lives with the blind father? Is life with a tailor’s dummy preferable to life with fleshand-blood people? Reading Edina Szvoren’s latest stories about inadequate relationships, absurd secrets, unspeakable pain and intense longing, the reader is overcome simultaneously by dread, sympathy, and surprise. Hopelessly at odds with our parents and children, longing to be with, or away from, our partners, we still somehow manage to get on in the world. We are foreigners in our own stories, yet this is where we have to set up home. Will we ever get used to all this actually fitting together? Edina Szvoren’s stories show the claustrophobic familiarity of our relationships, with sparks of dark humour and hints of the absurd.
These are human gestures; this is not hell
European Union Prize for Literature 2015 for her second book of short stories
The Carcass Remover
Is it possible to break free from the memory of war? Can one do anything but not break free from it? Having gone through the Yugoslav War, the narrator of the novel is trying to come to terms with the experience and start life anew. His path takes him to Split, Budapest and Berlin, and the ever-tempting apple of America is always beckoning, but he eventually finds the answer to his questions in a dusk in Temerin, Serbia. Zoltán Danyi’s novel is a grotesque, shocking and upsetting story of how human existence can—and how it cannot—be disassociated from its circumstances, be they appalling or noble. Rather than just another book about the Yugoslav War, The Carcass Remover attempts to find a language which is capable of piecing together a world broken to pieces, while being aware of the fact that what is broken will never be completely healed. It is also a deeply European—and painfully topical—book that shows how conflicts that seem local and far away from the ‘civilized world’ can escalate.
‘One of the big launches of the year’s book week.’ Revizor Online
Miklós Mészöly Award 2015
The Land of Boys
Nine tales about the male condition
One of Hungary’s best young poets, Dénes Krusovszky has written a remarkable collection of short stories. From Budapest to Prague and New York, his male characters struggle with their past, their masculinity, their fatherhood or their wasted talent. As these boys and men grow into their roles and make decisions with more or less success, they often grapple with their inability to articulate what is happening to them. In these wellcrafted and intellectually stimulating pieces, Krusovszky examines human problems with nuance and sensitivity, be it family breakdowns, the dynamics of romantic relationships or the difficulties of reconciling artistic ambitions with bourgeois life.
‘...possibly the most important author of his generation.’ Népszabadság
ANNA SZABÓ T.
The characters in these stories are men and women who live here and now, among us. In Anna Szabó T.’s condensed, highly charged prose, characters give monologues—and sometimes engage in dialogues— that capture moments in which the essence of a life or of a relationship comes to light. The elevator man in a hospital is seen as Charon, the Ferryman of the Dead; a tired working mother sleeps through a bank robbery; disillusioned with flesh-and-blood relationships, people opt for silicon companions. In her first prose volume, eminent poet Anna Szabó T. writes mercilessly yet at the same time empathically about the loneliness and the heart-rending cold war of couples, about resignation, secret desires and people’s struggle for external and inner beauty, with some hope glimmering here and there.
How much can a relationship take? Can you possess someone without breaking them? A body is fragile. A body is strong.
‘Yesterday was the first day for six years when I felt that I wanted something. But if wanting something is like this, then I prefer not to as it feels like being split, from my throat to between my legs.’
The Betrothed of the Virgin Mary
In a village somewhere in Hungary, a place where everything that can happen to a human being does in fact happen, Józsika Bizdó, the eccentric of the village notes down everything that he sees or hears around him into a checked notebook. These stories reveal how gossip, taboo, superstition and the religious beliefs of a village community demonstrate the workings of trauma, amnesia and collective memory. Buoyant, dirty and funny, Milbacher’s prose creates a world not unlike the Macondo of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a model of human communities.
Winner of the Margó Award 2016 for Best First Book of Prose
On a deserted bypass somewhere in the Hungarian countryside a sports car full of teenagers races through the pitch black night. A threatening enough start for a novel, yet even so, what follows is unexpected. Neither the readers nor the characters can expect the kid-glove treatment from Benedek Totth in this, his first novel. Elements of the teenage novel, the detective story, the psychological thriller, and the Bildungsroman mingle in this strange text, which is oppressive (yet at times humorous), and cruel (though not for the sake of it). If anyone recognizes today’s Hungary, with its more or less abandoned teenagers, loitering mostly unhappily, sometimes sad but more usually angry—then they’ve got the picture. Yet this is less a social critique than a highly personal confrontation with the teenager we all once were, or might have been, in this dismal place (no country for old men), where even wild boars are not what they seem.
The book is being made into a major Hungarian movie even now.
‘Trainspotting in the swimming pool. A whack in the face that’ll leave you reeling from the shock.’ György Dragomán
Winner of the Margó Award 2015 for Best First Book of Prose
A novel in short stories
In her highly anticipated second book of short stories after the successful Barcode (Vonalkód, 2006), Krisztina Tóth goes further and further in exploring the invisible threads that connect relatives and strangers alike, determining our lives in dramatic, comic or tragic ways without us being aware of it. Each one of the thirty chapters can be read as an individual short story, telling tales of love, loss, failed attempts at communication or self-determination, in a snapshot that reveals a decisive moment in someone’s life when his or her destiny is forever changed—or the moment when it is decided that it is never, ever going to change…
The invisible threads that connect relatives and strangers
This is the first work in prose from a remarkable poet. It contains fifteen short stories, each having a subtitle containing the expression line/bar. The narrator of the stories is either a young girl or a young woman, depending on the reader’s interpretation of each story, and some may see her as the same person all the way through. However, every action is seen from a woman’s point of view: childhood acquaintances, school camps, love, children, deceit, and journeys set against the backdrop of the ’socialist’ era towards its close.
Spring Collection by one of Hungary’s most renowned authors, György Spiró, is a Kafkaesque novel about an ordinary man in the Hungary of the 1950s, a ‘good communist’, an idealist who believes in the Party, suddenly finding himself the target of ridiculous accusations which nonetheless and gradually almost ruin his whole life in this era of dictatorship. Spiró’s genius consists in translating the essence of a dictatorial regime into a perfectly normal, everyday story. The reader, together with the Everyman protagonist of the novel, spirals helplessly deeper and deeper downwards, drawn in by the uncompassionate, relentless entity that is the dictatorial regime of the 1950s in Hungary. Together with the protagonist, we experience, even if we do not necessarily understand the absurd logic of, the mechanisms of absolute power. It is a frightening representation of how utterly incidental absolute power can be in crushing the individual, without even noticing it.
A Kafkaesque novel on absolute power and the individual
Wife Contest is a funny, scathing socio-political satire. The novel purports to be a biography of the future Queen of Hungary, from her early childhood to her eventual elevation as the winner of a nation-wide TV show called ‘Wife Contest’. While the book takes place in a near-future Hungary, it is definitely a read for non-Hungarians as well, as it describes general maladies that beset the early 21st century: declining standards of education, focus on entertainment, extremism in politics, lingering ethnic violence—issues that apply to a great many societies.
A Market Day
How do people come to be part of a lynch mob? To be more precise: what makes passers-by in a village and customers at a market turn against their neighbours who had just come back from death factories? Pál Závada’s new novel tries to give an answer to this question through the story of the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1946 in Hungary. One market day the narrator, daughter of a respected village shopkeeper and wife of a teacher, witnesses an attack against a Jewish egg-seller, which degenerates into bloodshed. The violence is led by local women, and neither women nor children are left unscathed. After the pogrom an investigation is started. During the enquiries prior events come to light, and the reader gets an insight into the conditions of life during and after the war, as well as the events that led up to the tragedy. The novel focuses on people and the distortions in human relationships for which history is partly responsible—history that can put any of us to the test at any moment, even today.
‘I can tell the very moment when it struck me, with piercing clarity, that from now on shutting my eyes in horror protects me from nothing. I can run home and bury my head in the pillows because I loathe what they’re doing—but it does me no good.’
Novel, with b&w photos
Pál Závada’s magnum opus is a novel about World War II, as well as the years leading up to it and following it. The story narrates the life of inhabitants of a large Slovak-populated village in Hungary, at home and in various locations in Central and Eastern Europe. Amid a multitude of characters, the story of two families stands out. Though the children of the former judge and those of the Jewish photographer grew up together, their lives take very different turns. In Natural Light the reader is swept along by existing, lost, and even imagined photos, letters, diaries and fictitious work-camp reports, and confronted with the everyday experience of the war. Meanwhile, some become perpetrators, others victims.
Photo copyrights are cleared, and sold with text rights, photo files are handed over free of charge English excerpts available
Our Alien Body
The novel is set in a photographer’s studio in September 1940, at a gathering of relatives, friends and lovers, all linked by the single figure of the hostess, Janka Weiner—her cousin who works in a fashion boutique, her seminarian brother, a military attaché, a young poet, a reporter, girlfriends, and journalists. Some of these people have German, others Hungarian or Jewish roots, others are less simple to define. They are simultaneously enthralled by news of regained territory, lost in World War I, and shocked by the newly introduced race laws. Where have they come from, and what will become of them when the war is over?
When There Were Only Animals
How many images do we have of ourselves? Of others? Of our culture? In her book, Zsófia Bán finds many ways, and as many captivating stories to ask and answer these questions. What is a picture? An image? Is it the shift in life, love, and chemistry, as one person replaces the other in the snapshots of a love triangle’s unexpected events? Or the flickering attraction between a taxi driver and a passenger, doomed because some things are just too hard to change? Is it the intimate secret behind the first ever X-ray picture and its laconic caption made by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895? From the jigsaw pieces of recurring motifs and characters throughout the book, we can also discover a family history played out in 20th century Eastern Europe and outposts of exile from Antarctica to South America, told from the perspective of mothers and daughters. When There Were Only Animals is a book about relationships. It is wonderful, passionate, and clever. And very entertaining.
A passionate book about relationships
Shortlisted for Der Internationaler Literaturpreis 2014
Having found salvation, Satan returns to Heaven. We see the world of humankind through his eyes. In this philosophical horror story with a splash of sci-fi and computer games, the priest-king of the Empire of External Power suspects that something terrible has happened to him, but cannot remember what it was. Everything points to the Empire’s very existence being under threat. An inquiry is set up to find out what has happened, while the reader has the creeping impression that the Empire of External Power is Hell, and its high priest is Satan—making him the protagonist and the narrator of the novel. It transpires that the high priest has gone under cover to the territory of his archenemy, the Empire of Internal Power, to give up the battle against salvation, and put an end to the ravings of his ego, unbalanced as it is by constant rebellion. A variation of an ancient myth, the story has a futuristic setting, and is speckled with adventure, battles, and love, but encapsulates a theological problem whose ultimate stake is Humankind. The title Moebion comes from the strip named after its inventor, Professor Möbius, and refers to infinity.
Satan finds salvation, and returns to Heaven
New novel of winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 2012
She Lets Me In
A story in snapshots
Judit Szaniszló’s book is like an Eastern European Bridget Jones’s Diary. The world of a thirty-something woman in Hungary unfolds from this book, with familiar, everyday problems—loneliness, relationships, life in an office— presented from a fresh and original perspective. Szaniszló, who is also a blogger, writes clear and simple stories in a style that is immediately accessible and yet of high literary quality—one reviewer dubbed it as ‘a literary reality show.’ These are cheeky, acerbic and sensitive stories, leaving the reader curious as to what will become of the protagonist, with whom it is easy to identify and whom it is easy to like.
An Eastern European Bridget Jones’s Diary in the style of Jonathan Franzen
György Petri Award 2015
The Man Who Kept His Roots in His Shoe
As the protagonist of the Oscar Prize winnning film, Son of Saul, Géza Röhrig impersonated a member of a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz who will go to any lengths in order to bury his child. As a poet, Géza Röhrig descends into darkness— into depths illuminated only by language and by faith; where the origin and the end, the roots and the grave are not merely juxtaposed: they are one. Röhrig’s volume of poetry is at the same time brutal and sensitive, devastating and informal. His main subject is the fragility of identity. How can we find a home, inside ourselves, without stumbling in our roots? Röhrig leads us into a forest of individual and family tragedies, holding our hands all the while. Murder, loss of parents, betrayal. Wounds. Being an outcast. These poems show the complexity of a victim who is at times evil and beastly, and who is also an, even if ever dwindling, human being. The locations and the characters are typically Hungarian, yet Röhrig’s stories, replete with biblical imagery, are universal.
How can we find a home, inside ourselves, without stumbling in our roots?
Finding love and adventure in the footsteps of Jack London
San Francisco in the 1890s. A young man has had enough of the oppressive world of the family household and a society that offers little to him, and chooses a life of adventure and experience. Wandering around on land and sea, encountering love and passion, he finally grows into an adult. This novel invites the reader to join the protagonist on a magic journey to the unpredictable landscapes of human nature. It is a kaleidoscope-like narrative that can be read as a Bildungsroman, a novel of adventure, or a love story. Though at times the events and characters evoke the life of Jack London, this book is not about the American writer but about how to become Jack London.
How to become Jack London
TIBOR NOÉ KISS
Get Some Sleep
Seven men, one case
The stories in this volume take place at a dilapidated poultry farm which has seen better days. Some people still linger there, their personalities slowly vanishing, like a haematoma. Living from day to day, between a forgotten past and a blind present, these characters do not even appear on the map. Does anything ever happen to them? Yes, and quite a lot, at that. The narrator of these stories scans and illuminates this desolate land like a subtle, invisible drone. From the mosaic pieces of Get Some Sleep a novel of stasis takes shape, which describes the desperate patterns of passive, vegetative beings with merciless clarity and an occasional taste of melancholy.
‘Pink knickers on the ground. On the knickers, teddy-bears, bunnies and fawns are sleeping. The knickers fell out of a sports bag. She won’t be coming back for them.’
Pál Békés Award 2014
A detective story of literary worth, High Sea is violent and dream-like, lively and monotonous, sensational and intellectual, cynical and touching. Far beyond a mere whodunit, it focuses on a lonely man, a detective who takes his profession lightly, giving occasional help to the forces of law and order. He prefers to listen to Metallica and Chopin, reflect on his own opinions, and muse on existential questions at the murder scenes. He chases criminals and takes statements from witnesses, but all the while his every thought is sheer pain, for the greatest criminal is he himself. Why? This is a mystery to be solved by the reader. Written in lyrical prose, High Sea is typically Hungarian and at the same time universal. Rather than a simple story about violent murder and nightmare, it is about the pulsating fear of life and the impossibility of absolution from sin. It is the struggle of a detective with crime and guilt. To be continued.
‘He couldn’t have gotten very far, grumbled the detective. Go find the Son of God and bring him to me. I’d like to have a few words with him.’
Shortlisted for the Margó Award 2015 for Best First Book of Prose
A novel that defines a generation, strong in tone, and drenched in blood. The narrator is a young man, a university student in present-day Transylvania who maps out for us his life and his personal psychology. The only thing he can latch onto is pain, and the tiger stripes he scores into his own thighs with nail scissors. His girlfriend is a student too, and for some time now she has been making money from prostitution—not for fun, or out of curiosity, but out of genuine necessity, so she can pay for her lodgings and studies. Where exactly they slip up, where they slide from being penniless students into actual crime, how they clamber out of it, and what happens next—these are the questions answered, or deliberately left open, by László Potozky.
The best analgesic is pain itself
‘Sharp is more than just a love story: this is a story in which a young adult tries to find his way, but the scene broadens to give us a description of an era and society…’ Élet és Irodalom
God is Shamelessly Young
‘When you cry, you make even God look shamelessly young by comparison.’ Tamás Beck’s book is full of weighty sentences like this. He writes such direct sentences, free of all frills, as naturally as others breathe. It is like reading a newspaper, except here we are reading not about war, crises, or revolutions, but about human dramas, turning points in relationships: about things that really matter. What makes this tone credible is that although it comes from a place of vast knowledge, it reveals only what is absolutely necessary for the text to work. The omniscient narrator leaves the joy of discovery to us.
‘…one of the most remarkable collections of short stories to have been published this year. Every story is accurate, rounded, ominous; every sentence harsh and vigorous…’ moly.hu
György Petri Award 2014
Books for Children
Stories of the Old Miss and her Car
with illustrations by Zsuzsi Medve
‘Once upon a time there was a car. The car belonged to the Old Miss, and it was shiny and clean inside and out, because Miss liked things to be tidy and clean, and she liked her old car too.’ This is how Aliz Mosonyi’s latest stories start—for young and old, drivers and pedestrians, travellers and armchair explorers. You’ll come across drive-in cinemas, a postal worker, a queen, a porcelain dog and a real one, and everything else the Old Miss encounters on journeys in her old car.
Aliz Mosonyi’s gentle humour is loved by children and adults alike. We recommend the car stories for children aged 3 and over. They could also be an excellent introduction to independent reading for beginners of five or six years old.
For children ages 3 to 6
Auntie Alice’s Little Book of Good Manners
‘You should, you shouldn’t!’ How difficult it is for a small child to guess what they are and aren’t supposed to do! If something’s interesting, fun, and makes you laugh, you usually shouldn’t do it; if you’re supposed to do something, it’s incredibly boring. Aliz Mosonyi’s book of etiquette conjures up the old world of children, and the ancient world of adults—though in fact, it is about us. It is an adaptation of a popular, hundred-year-old children’s etiquette book, to which Aliz Mosonyi has added amusing texts for today’s children. She teaches us to wash our hands, blow our nose, greet people, be kind to guests, behave properly at a set table, listen to the teacher, etc., and makes us laugh at those who dry their hands on the curtain, crawl under the table to hide from guests, quarrel, pinch and bite—or simply don’t know how to be bored politely. With the marvellous drawings of the famous French book illustrator Louis Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1850–1913).
For children age 4 and older
How to be bored politely? A very funny self-help book for kids and parents
with illustrations by József Pintér
Eighty-one stories about shops that never existed. Though children will love these fairytales because of their absurdity and gentle humour, perhaps they are more for young people who have just begun to face the hurdles and trials of life: love, friendship, confidence, mourning, faithfulness, betrayal, deception, villainy, vanity, and old age. Written in an unmistakable style, with a quick, powerful rhythm and dramaturgy, these stories are perhaps best defined as ‘lyrical grotesque.’ The stories feature shopkeepers and customers, young and old lovers, a miserable shop assistant, devils, a wise doctor, a nasty baker, a talking dog, a shouting dragon, the ghost of a sugar lump, cakes, guardian angels, books, stamps, dolls, buttons, vegetable stews and many more. Shop Stories has been reprinted several times since its publication.
For readers ages 6 to 99
ANNA SZABÓ T.
The Spice Bird
with illustrations by Eszter Schall
In Sparkle Valley, Hanna and Henne, the two mischievous children of King Pertu, are always bickering: every day all they have to eat is sunrays, and they’re fed up with it. But their squabbling comes to an end when a genuine threat appears: somebody wants to eat the Sun! The king’s faithful jester, the mysterious Spice Bird knows that the only way to save the kingdom is to make a hundred-spice sauce. They set out to hunt for the spices, and during their eventful journey, with a child called Sunbeam, they discover the colourful world of food flavours, at the same time learning about the power of friendship and faithfulness. The Spice Bird uses Hungarian, Arabian and Indian myths and stories to teach children about spices. The uses and medicinal effects of the spices are carefully described, and some of the illustrations are done using montage technique with photographs of the plants and their fruit. Thus, the eventful story can also be used as a spice handbook.
For children ages 6 and older
A children’s spice handbook, in the guise of an adventure story ‘I have striven for a fusion style like that of world music, one which combines Uralic shamanism, Arabian tales, and Indian legends.’ Anna Szabó T.
ANNA SZABÓ T.
with illustrations by Kinga Rofusz
First love lasts forever. It bears you aloft, reshapes you, teaches you about others and yourself. But what happens if the person we love has a secret? What if they don’t want to belong to us completely? If they sacrifice themselves for us, but at the same time retain their freedom? Anna Szabó T. (her Japanese name: Kyoko) tells the story of love between a sensitive Hungarian boy and a mysterious Japanese girl painter, based on an Eastern legend, showing both the timeless idyll of teenage love and the everyday struggle of being an artist.
This book is for everyone who is not afraid of the power of an embrace, and who is willing to learn the lesson: if you love a bird, be the sky, not a cage.
For readers age 12 and older Published jointly with Vivandra Publishers
‘If you love a bird, be the sky, not a cage.’ A short novel combining the Japanese and the Hungarian fairy tale worlds
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Talk
with illustrations by Gabriella Makhult
Krisztina Tóth’s tale is about a girl born in a washtub, her parents and her three siblings. Will an abandoned child find a home? Who will mother her, or father her? Will she ever see her Mum and Dad? How do brothers and sisters find each other? Their destinies are mysteriously linked by threads, just as stars are linked by invisible heavenly paths. Solitude, memory and reconciliation help the adopted girl find her way home. Meanwhile, the stars keep on shining over us all, wherever we have come from, and wherever we are going.
‘Basically it is about a search for identity: who am I, who are my parents, how did I arrive in this family? And is the link biological or rather psychological? That’s how I’d look at it, because if I say it’s about adoption, that’s narrowing things down too far. Incidentally, I think that’s important. My mother was adopted too. And I also thought I’d like to adopt a child some time. Because I believe a person isn’t just made of literature: somehow you have to construct your own life too. I thought mine would be complete if I took something that, indirectly, I received, and put it back into my own destiny. I think we are prone to overestimate the importance of blood relationships, because this has a strong tradition. My child is the one I “put” my love in, and who shines it back to me. It occurs to every teenager, “how did I get into this family, it’s like they’re not even my parents. I’m an alien, I’ve been dropped here, maybe they’re not even my real parents. I don’t actually look much like them.” And I wanted to write something where someone begins an inner journey, their personality takes shape and they wonder: “Who am I, how did I come into the world, what is the role of the people who brought me up and who call themselves my parents?” All sorts of wonderful things happen to the girl in the book. And all sorts of trials, but she finds people to help her. In this sense it follows the logic and dramaturgy of a fairy tale.’—Krisztina Tóth
For children ages 9 to 12
Adoption—a search for Identity
Mum Had an Operation
with illustrations by Viktória Hitka
‘Everyone was there when Mum came home, as if we were celebrating a birthday. I even told Granddad it’s a pity there’s no birthday today, because there was a fine crowd of us. Granddad said that in a sense it was a kind of birthday: Mum was born again. Grown-ups always say that, “in a sense” when something is nothing like what they say. There was no cake, anyway.’ There is a childlike clarity to the voice of Krisztina Tóth’s central character, a girl who speaks about illness. If a parent falls ill, the trauma is difficult for the child to deal with. Writing about this could be gloomy, but Krisztina Tóth approaches this taboo topic with her customary fresh attitude. She explains to children what a tumour is, what it means to recover from illness, and that we can, indeed should, talk about everything. A humorous book that shows how to get through a family crisis, how to help children understand that nothing is frightening if we grown-ups speak about it clearly and simply.
For children ages 6 to 9
‘This is how to speak to children; this is how to speak of illness; this is how we can observe the world—the way Krisztina Tóth does.’ Népszabadság
A Story for Nose-blowers
with illustrations by Bíbor Timkó
‘The Snotty family became homeless. They had to leave Pete’s nose. They spread out and looked around so that they could go and infect someone before Pete threw the handkerchief into the waste paper basket. Bacty suggested they tried Dora’s nose, but Bogiestein disagreed. “We’re going further, to a safe place,” he announced. Now they’re on the prowl, looking for a spacious, comfortable nose they can all move into. Yours, for instance, looks pretty neat. Tell me, have you blown it today? More than once? Right nostril first, then the left? Yes? And do you wash your hands? Well then, they won’t come to you, that’s for sure.’ Krisztina Tóth writes with her customary humour on an important topic, the bacteria that infect children, the mucus in their nose, and how to keep the microbes at bay. Bíbor Timkó’s entertaining figures are loveable and help children understand what happens when bacteria infect them.
For children ages 3 to 6
Book on an important topic with great humour
ABOUT MAGVETŐ PUBLISHING
Six-time Publisher of the Year in Hungary, Magvető has become synonymous with the best Hungarian literature over the decades. We are proud to be the home of Imre Kertész, the only Hungarian laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature; László Krasznahorkai, the only Hungarian winner of the International Man Booker Prize; and Péter Esterházy, holder of countless international awards. Young writers taken on by Magvető have good reason to feel that they have joined the vanguard of contemporary Hungarian literature.
Imre Kertész’ novel Fatelessness has sold more copies than any other book in recent Hungarian history. The works of the most prestigious Magvető authors, including Géza Bereményi, Ádám Bodor, Péter Esterházy, László Garaczi, László Krasznahorkai, Ádám Nádasdy, Imre Oravecz, Lajos Parti Nagy, György Spiró, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Pál Závada, as well as those of the best writers of the middle generation, Attila Bartis, Ildikó Boldizsár, György Dragomán, Krisztián Grecsó, Anna Szabó T., Edina Szvoren, László Szilasi or Krisztina Tóth, are regularly found on bestseller lists and critics’ lists, and sold in tens of thousands of copies.
Besides publishing established authors, it is Magvető’s mission to discover new talents, and publish their work. Our promising writers and poets include Tibor Babiczky, Péter Bognár, László Csabai, Zoltán Danyi, Ákos Győrffy, Lili Kemény, Noémi Kiss, Tibor Noé Kiss, László Potozky, Petra Szőcs, Tímea Turi and Benedek Totth.
We are very proud of our prestigious backlist which includes such classics as Géza Csáth, György Kardos G., Gyula Krúdy, Sándor Lénárd, Ottó Orbán, Géza Ottlik, György Petri, Szilárd Rubin, Miklós Szentkuthy, Antal Szerb and Sándor Tar. Since the 1960s, we have compiled and published annual anthologies of the best Hungarian poems and short stories of the preceding year, timed for the Festive Book Week that takes place in June each year. We also publish essay collections by scholars (e.g. Péter György, András Nagy, György Poszler); as well as a series of memoirs, interview collections and diaries, entitled ‘Facts and Witnesses’. A unique project in Hungarian publishing, our new poetry series launched in 2016 features Hungarian poets as well as translations of poetry. The first volumes include poetry by Zoltán Halasi, Tamás Jónás, Géza Röhrig, Zsuzsa Tamás, Ilma Rakusa and Balázs Szálinger, as well as those of Al Berto and W.G. Sebald.
While our main profile is the publication of contemporary Hungarian poetry and prose, Magvető is the Hungarian home of such writers as César Aira, Anna Gavalda, Michel Houellebecq, Daniel Kehlmann, Colum McCann, Cormac McCarthy, Frank McCourt, Terézia Mora, Thomas Pynchon, Gabriel García Márquez and Lyudmila Ulitskaya.
Besides Imre Kertész’s Nobel Prize and László Krasznahorkai’s Man Booker Prize, our authors have been granted numerous prestigious awards. These include the annual Hungarian Literature Prize, awarded to Péter Esterházy (2000), Ádám Bodor and István Szilágyi (2001), Zsuzsa Rakovszky (2002) and Lajos Parti Nagy (2003); the Aegon Art Prize, an award that replaced the annual Hungarian Literature Prize, given to György Spiró (2006) – who also won the Artisjus Literary Grand Prize in 2012 – as well as to Zsuzsa Rakovszky (2007), Tamás Jónás (2009), Krisztián Grecsó (2012), Árpád Kun (2014) and Imre Oravecz (2016). Viktor Horváth and Edina Szvoren received the European Union Prize for Literature in 2012 and 2015, respectively; while Benedek Totth and Róbert Milbacher were awarded the Margó Prize for the best first book of fiction of the year (2015, 2016). László Darvasi’s book was Children’s Book of the Year in 2014. Imre Kertész received the Budapest Grand Prize in 1997, and several of our authors are laureates of the Kossuth Prize, the highest state prize in Hungary. Magvető was Publisher of the Year in 2003, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, and most recently in 2015.
Magvető Publishing is a member of the Líra Group, committed to the highest standards in book publishing and sales.
MAGVETŐ PUBLISHING LLC.
Dankó u. 4–8., 1086 Budapest, Hungary
Tel.: (+36) 1 235 5020
Foreign Rights Director
Tel.: (+36) 1 235 5030
Back to top