kek, zold, taj es templomtorony
Photo of Sopron, Hungary, by molamoni used under a Creative Commons license.

Gyula Krudy, Sunflower (NYRB, 2007).
A lyrical novel of town and country in fin-de-siecle Hungary. Krudy was a prolific writer, and one of the most popular in Hungary in the early twentieth century. (The introduction in the NYRB edition is an article that John Lukacs wrote about Krudy and Sunflower in the New Yorker twenty years ago, quite helpful in giving some sense of Krudy’s place.) Spooked when someone breaks into her Budapest residence, Eveline returns home to her estate in Bujdos, an apparently fictional (as far as I can tell) town in the Nyírség region by the River Tisza in the lowlands of northeast Hungary, where much of the novel takes place. The plot thickens when she is joined by her friend, Malvina Maszkerádi, but this is a book you read not for the plot, but for Krudy’s prose, and also for his sense of a timeless but now vanished nineteenth-century Hungary.

Zoltán András Bán profiled Krudy. This site has more about him. This one, too. John Bátki, the translator of this edition, wrote this piece in Hungarian Literature Online. Here is much more from vackor, Thomas McGonigle, Ray Keenoy, and Carolyn Bánfalvi. And Mark Sarvas interviews Arthur Phillips about Krudy and Sandor Márai.

Buy it at Amazon.com.

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