Attila Szávai: Távoli vidékek felé (Towards Distant Lands* Napkút Kiadó 2019)

Many thanks to Napkút Kiadó for sending me the book!

The book can be purchased on the website of Napkút Kiadó.

Attila Szávai is a short story writer, member and/or founder of several Hungarian literary and art groups. In addition to his published volumes of short stories, his works have been found in several domestic and cross-border literature magazine and anthologies.

The short stories depict moments in our lives. Even if they were not written from our point of view, they represent events and scenes that have already been seen by all of us. We can also observe the people passing by and their thoughts: how they see each other, the environment, what the sight of a statue or flower evokes from them. These images are simple, yet so characteristic that they can fit in a lifetime. Many times I thought I would be very curious to see what happens to the characters after the short story ended, but we never know that like when people traveling together get off the train at different stations.

The tone of the short stories is so lyrical that they are almost poems. Many times, the plot isn’t even linear, but circular, like when we look around and watch the posters on the wall while standing in line at a pharmacy. What goes on in people’s minds at such times? Such and similar ordinary moments can be seen in these stories: spring bird chirping in the cemetery, summer sun on the beach, waiting passengers at the bus stop, late autumn smoke between the playground toys, Santa Claus walking his dog on a winter evening, sometimes an angel is watching the people.

There are 40 short stories in this volume, but since each is only a few pages long, the book is also quite short. But please don’t read it fast! Let’s stop after each one and think for a bit, let their bittersweet mood permeate us.

*my translation