Kinga Maksai: Mia & Maja (Cerkabella Könyvkiadó 2021)

Many thanks to Cerkabella Könyvkiadó for sending me the book!

Ever since Kinga Maksai learned to read as a preschooler, she has loved to immerse herself in the world of books. In addition to literature, her other great passion was the cinema – she graduated in Hungarian and film theory-film history. Now, she teaches Hungarian and media as a high school teacher. Although she has previously written film reviews and lifestyle articles for online magazines, she only started working in fiction a few years ago. Mia & Maja is her first book. With the first chapter of this book, she won the special prize of Cerkabella Könyvkiadó in 2017 in the Aranyvackor competition, and then with the novel she also won the 2019 Merítés Prize.

Mia is 15 years old, just starting high school. Maja is 70 years old, a widow. Mia tries to find her place in the class and is preparing for a language exam. Maja lives alone with her dog, her son works in London. Twice a week, Mia takes her brother home because their translator father doesn’t have time to pick him up. Maya had just started to do yoga because her back hurts. Mia tries to get over her mother’s death. Maya is trying to get over her husband’s death.

Although Maya could be Mia’s grandmother, she needs just the kind of a friend like her. Maya needs Mia too. Yet the lonely woman and the young girl have a lot in common and can help each other through difficult moments. The novel touches on many very topical issues: school bullying or the loneliness of the elderly should not be left without a word. The book also shows that we may have a lot in common, we just don’t take the trouble to get to know each other. The story teaches me how much we can do for each other just by paying attention.