Image: Maria Chilf, "Homesickness for an Unknown Landscape" (detail), 2009, mixed technique, chemical protective clothing, shoes, gloves, plastic, wood. Courtesy of the artist and VILTIN Galéria.
This month we present writing by six Hungarian women writers. Informed by multiple linguistic and international traditions, and blending interdisciplinary artistic and critical expertise, these writers rank among the most acclaimed in Hungary today. Zsófia Bán gets under the skin of a Nobel laureate’s discovery. Réka Mán-Várhegyi heads to the pitch with a woman who finds herself mysteriously turned into Lionel Messi. Kinga Tóth interrogates illness through imagery. Zsuzsa Selyem channels the despair of a homeless prostitute ravaged by time and alcohol. Edina Szvoren eavesdrops on a strained mother-daughter encounter. And Krisztina Tóth plants the seeds of a classic cross-cultural (and cross-culinary) miscommunication. We thank our guest editors, Ágnes Orzóy and Erika Mihálycsa. Elsewhere we spotlight literature from Lithuania.
Open to Disagreement: Six Contemporary Hungarian Women Writers
An important slice of recent Hungarian writing is indebted to the literature of the 1980s and ’90s that subverts the ideological remainders entrenched in language.
Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot
One sweltering summer morning, I wake up to find I’m Lionel Messi.
The Tongue’s Story
It’s because we don’t speak their language. That’s why they’re defiling our food.
Frau Röntgen’s Hand
Oh God. The woman has vaporized.
it can end whenever, wherever.
That Little Strip of Sunshine
By the time I’d answered all his questions I recognized him: János Hell.
Working Name: Person
My parents know more about the Qahatika Indians than about my son.
Reviewed by Andrew Hungate
In a Japan that has once again closed its borders to the outside world, the infant Mumei and his great-grandfather Yoshiro face the perils of a dysfunctional society that seems hauntingly familiar