László Darvasi

Getting Hold of a Woman - Wartime stories

Original Hungarian title: Szerezni egy nöt, published in 2000 by Jelenkor
(German title: Eine Frau besorgen)
ca. 181 pages
László Darvasi
Foto: László Darvasi
© Ekko von Schwichow

László Darvasi, born in 1962 in southern Hungary, has worked as a teacher and journalist. He came to prominence as a lyricist and published short works of prose and novellas. Darvasi, who lives in Szeged and Budapest is considered to be one of the greatest talents in Hungarian literature.

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Croatia (Fraktura)


In spring 1999, having completed his novel The Legend of the Tear Jugglers, Darvasi returned to his original short prose style. Against the backdrop of the mass ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the bombing of former Yugoslavia a cycle of stories was born which number among his very best, albeit with a sharply bitter tone to them.

They are set during the war in Bosnia and its aftermath, in what are in part fictitious places between Sarajevo, the »Field of Blackbirds«, and Serbian Batchka, in a climate of total disorder, lawlessness and cruelty. Sons shoot their fathers, assault minors and the dead. Securing a woman is driven by an animalist will to survive. But the women with such unusual names as Rozália Fugger-Schmidt or Julia Sonne are not merely victims but also self-possessed beauties, who manage to get by with artificial limbs or are capable of sleeping for weeks on end. Repeatedly slipping into the surreal, in these incredible stories Darvasi tells of the extreme conditions born of lasting violence.

Other publications

Wintermorgen/Winter Morning (2016)

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Italy (Il Saggiatore)

Blumenfresser/The Flower Eaters (2013)

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Spanish world rights (Sexto Piso), Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek), Poland (Jagiellonian UP), Czech Republic (Dauphin), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Die Hundejäger von Lojang/The Dog Hunters of Lojang (2002)

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Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek), Romania (Nemira)

Die Legende von den Tränengauklern/The Legend of the Tear Jugglers (1999)

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Italy (Il Saggiatore), Netherlands (Wereldbibliotheek), Czech Republic (Dauphin)