The Book of Mordechai and Lazarus
Translated by Adam Z. Levy, Ottilie Mulzet
5 x 8 inches, 232 pp. November 2017
ISBN : 9780857424419
Rs 699.00 (HB)
The Book of Mordechai and Lazarus are the first and the second novels by Hungarian writer Gábor Schein. Published together in one volume, they comprise the first in Seagull Books’s new Hungarian List series.
Both novels trace the legacy of the Holocaust in Hungary. The Book of Mordechai tells the story of three generations in a Hungarian Jewish family, interwoven with the biblical narrative of Esther. Lazarus relates the relationship between a son, growing up in the in the final decades of late-communist Hungary, and his father, who survived the depredations of Hungarian fascists during World War II. Mordechai is an act of recovery—an attempt to seize a coherent story from a historical maelstrom. By contrast, Lazarus, like Kafka’s unsent letter to his own father, is an act of defiance. Against his father’s wish to never be the subject of his son’s writing, the narrator places his father at the center of his story. Together, both novels speak to a contemporary Hungarian society that remains all too silent towards the crimes of the past.
Gábor Schein is one of the most important writers to emerge in post 1989 Hungary. The author of several acclaimed volumes of poetry, he has also written several prose works and verse dramas. He is a professor at the Hungarian Literary History Institute of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.
Adam Z. Levy is a translator from Hungarian and the publisher of Transit Books in California.
Ottilie Mulzet is a literary critic and translator of Hungarian. Her published translations include Krasznahorkai’s Animalinside (2012) and Seibo There Below (2013), which won the Best Translated Book Award in the US.