Magazine article World Literature Today

Ez Egy Ilyen Csúcs: A Nagy Szív Ernõ Füzet

Magazine article World Literature Today

Ez Egy Ilyen Csúcs: A Nagy Szív Ernõ Füzet

Article excerpt

László Darvasi. Ez egy ilyen csúcs: A nagy SzivErnö füzet. Budapest. Magveto. 2014. ISBN 9789631431964

László Darvasi (aka Erno Szív) is a Hungarian prose writer whose fiction has entertained at least two generations of readers. His grand novel, Virágzabálók (2009; Devourers of flower), was only a critical, not a popular, success; Darvasi does not possess the epic breadth of a Péter Nádas or a László Krasznahorkai. His strength lies in shorter genres, in funny stories, sketches, and feuilletons. In these he is able to create a special atmosphere of half-fiction, half-reality. This particularly applies to his recent collection of stories, Ez egy ilyen csúcs (This is just such a peak), neatly organized in ten chapters.

Apart from describing the last months and eventual death of András Bakó (the poet István Baka), which takes place at Szeged, most of the stories are about the author's foreign experiences. Taking a leaf out of Kosztolányi's Kornél Esti stories, Darvasi describes the adventures of his alter ego, Erno Szív (Ernest Heart), from East Berlin to Sylt, in Belgium, and, even further, in New York, places not only visited but closely observed. The narrator is unmistakenly Hungarian, part sophisticate and part naïf, in one moment a man of the intellectual world and in the next merely a child just lost in the jungle of modernity.

Darvasi is particularly good at interpreting small phenomena, routines, and oddities of life, seen through the eyes of his sentimental hero, Mr Szív. …

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