Oh, you guys, I so wish I can show off my new books I got while I was on holiday! I mean, I can show them to you, but I have a sinking feeling that most of you will never have the chance to actually read them, even though they are brilliant.
There’s a huge trend of Scandinavian books being translated into English, and occasionally even some German books find their way onto my radar, but none of my favourite Hungarian authors are known outside Hungary as far as I can see. What a shame, really.
Also *wink-wink* to whomever it concerns… *flaunts books ostentatiously*
I first came a Katalin Barath’s book in 2011, and it was love at first sight. The first in the series is called Black Piano (or would be called that, if someone could be bothered translating it) opens in 1900, and follows Veronika “Veron” David, the feisty young woman who is writing her first romantic novel in the bookshop where she’s working, when the town-clown falls at her feet with a knife in his back. Things get heated in the idyllic small town of course, and the Serbian police captain and the town’s doctor are suddenly faced with Veron who literally begs them to let her join the team, and of course is one of those people who always knows everything better.
Veron is a little bit like Miss Marple, only without the life experience of a 90-year-old, and the ability to hold ones tongue in crucial moments.
In the second book Veron moves to Budapest and joins a feminist newspaper as a journalist, but of course carries on investigating mysteries.
I discovered Anita Moskat in 2015 when I visited Hungary and my mum insisted on getting me a birthday present. After declining offers on various jewellery, I finally convinced her, that yes, I really only want some books, no, I’m not joking.
Her first book, Sons of Babel (again, my idea of the title) is a speculative fantasy with some horror elements. There’s a guy called David who is losing his eyesight for some mysterious reasons. His dreams show him that the Tower of Babel is in fact stealing his vision. He travels to Babel, which is a sort of parallel universe, and meets Arzen, the son of the religious leader who is trying to break out from his father’s shadow.
The story was inspired by the biblical Babel story, and includes themes like religious fanaticism, superstitions and their impact on societies. It’s also a dark and quite brutal story with some graphic details.
Her second book, Horgonyhely is set in a world where people are bound to the place where they were born. The only people who could hope to travel and discover other places are those who are pregnant. This is a story that examines prejudice and the price of freedom.
The third book of hers came out only a few weeks ago, and it is another thought provoking story that doesn’t shy away from topics like human rights and slavery. Imagine that all kinds of animals turn into cocoons, only to emerge as half human – half animal creatures later. Well, this is what’s been happening for about two decades in this book. This new evolution seems to be unstoppable, so people need to get used to the idea that Homo Sapiens is not the only intelligent species anymore. Ever since the first “creature” was born, their rights or lack of thereof is being the topic of heated debates among humans.
What’s not to love? There’s even a half deer – half human blogger character, Kirill!
So I’m just here flapping my eyelashes in the hope that someone somewhere will make this happen and people will be able to read these amazing books in English as well.