Zsófia Bán

Keep Breathing - Stories

Original Hungarian title: Lehet lélegezni!
(German title: Weiter atmen)
ca. 140 pages
Zsófia Bán
Foto: Zsófia Bán
© Ekko von Schwichow

Zsófia Bán, author, art and literary critic, has published several collections of essays. She was born in 1957 in Rio de Janeiro and grew up in Brazil and Hungary. She currently teaches American studies in Budapest. Esti iskola was awarded with the Attila József Prize in 2008. Amikor még csak az állatok éltek was awarded with the Tibor Déry Prize in 2012 and shortlisted for the International Literature Award – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2014.

Rights available

»Images as incisive as blades.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


In 1912, Franz Reichelt stands on the Eiffel Tower clad in his home-made parachute, and hesitates, his breath billowing in the cold, »chemistry and scratch marks pulsate like thick snowfall« in the old black and white photograph.

Robika, who would be a seventh grader now if he had a concept of time and went to school, has an obsession: Every week he chooses seven bars of white soap in Mama Roza’s store.

One day, when the store is closed, Robika’s mother takes a bicycle into town with her inconsolable child. On the way back they get into an accident. Robika needs to have an x-ray, a bar of soap clasped tightly in each hand. But everything is fine, and he can: Keep breathing!

Whether she tells the story of a family of Syrian refugees stranded at the Hungarian border, of Rimbaud and those who do research on him, of lovers, patients or children, of Paris, Rio de Janeiro or Hungary – Zsófia Bán creates characters, images, internal landscapes of uncharted depth with few sentences.

New stories by Zsófia Bán – intelligent and empathetic, subtle and provocative, of associative imagination and laconic boldness.


»A wonderful volume of stories about leaving and arriving, about what is lost and regained, and about the breath of freedom.« Ilma Rakusa

»Following Zsófia Bán’s bold, piercing outlook onto the world will leave you feeling refreshed.« Literaturen

Other publications

Abendschule/Night School (2012)

Sold to:

English world rights (Open Letter), Spanish world rights (Siruela)