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I hardly know what to say about this one Krudy writes like no one I ve ever read before, although the thought came to me often that the dreamlike and yet vivid way he writes about snow and cold and autumn beautifully offsets the way Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes about the tropics His skill at conjuring so many emotive images out of one scene is incredible His mind overflows with dazzling images I really don t know who isimpressive, the writer or the translator He goes on and on descr I hardly know what to say about this one Krudy writes like no one I ve ever read before, although the thought came to me often that the dreamlike and yet vivid way he writes about snow and cold and autumn beautifully offsets the way Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes about the tropics His skill at conjuring so many emotive images out of one scene is incredible His mind overflows with dazzling images I really don t know who isimpressive, the writer or the translator He goes on and on describing a moment or scene, as if unraveling a ball of silk from which comestrands, each of vibrant and varying colour, and he neglects none of them, but follows them each to their end And then he will make a very concise statement that is so beautiful and sharp that it takes your breath away I loved this one in particular A glove pulled off the hand might feel the way Mr Pistoli felt My thanks to Bettie for recommending this one to me I would have given it 5 except that I wished Krudy cared a littleabout plot, but that s just personal taste If you like magic realism and prose that is poetry, you ll love Sunflower It was clear, right from the very beginning this was unlike any other book I d read before SUNFLOWER is a fever dream, violently romantic, lush and crazy and demanding and bewildering and beautiful Its language follows that dream logic, the metaphors swinging every which way, every mundane act elevated to hyperbole And it s dizzying collective of characters There is a woman, quiet and too beautiful, and the two men who love her one, a good for nothing lover hands long open to be granted her It was clear, right from the very beginning this was unlike any other book I d read before SUNFLOWER is a fever dream, violently romantic, lush and crazy and demanding and bewildering and beautiful Its language follows that dream logic, the metaphors swinging every which way, every mundane act elevated to hyperbole And it s dizzying collective of characters There is a woman, quiet and too beautiful, and the two men who love her one, a good for nothing lover hands long open to be granted her wealth, the other, an lmos Dreamer a long line of lovers who have killed themselves for mostly unrequited love And, indeed, Andor lmos Dreamer kills himself for Eveline but when Eveline rushes to his cooling corpse, he wakens Of course he does There is also Mr Pistoli, a Casanova now firmly middle aged, and all the baggage of his past loves, past marriages three of them, his wives gone mad Mr Pistoli is in love with Miss Malvina Maszker di, the feisty, determined spinster Miss Maszker di is in love with a tree, and would like to stay that way, thank you very much.Ah, but this is the best I can do, for now Read SUNFLOWER Read it over weeks and months, it changes every time you return to it, and that is never a bad thing for something so charged with life and language and the strangest ways people decide to live and love Read SUNFLOWER, read, read, read I know I will again, and soon, hopefully soon @READ DOWNLOAD ⛈ Sunflower ⚠ Gyula Kr dy is a marvellous writer who haunted the taverns of Budapest and lived on its streets while turning out a series of mesmerizing, revelatory novels that are among the masterpieces of modern literature Kr dy conjures up a world that is entirely his own dreamy, macabre, comic, and erotic where urbane sophistication can erupt without warning into passion and even madnessIn Sunflower young Eveline leaves the city and returns to her country estate to escape the memory of her desperate love for the unscrupulous charmer K lm n There she encounters the melancholy lmos Dreamer, who is languishing for love of her, and is visited by the bizarre and beautiful Miss Maszker di, a woman who is a force of nature The plot twists and turns elemental myth mingles with sheer farce Kr dy brilliantly illuminates the shifting contours and acid colors of the landscape of desireJohn B tki s outstanding translation of Sunflower is the perfect introduction to the world of Gyula Kr dy, a genius as singular as Robert Walser, Bruno Schulz, or Joseph Roth From the sublime to the ridiculous, Hungarian maestro Gyula Kr dy orchestrates his singular vision using prose of the art nouveau period, to create a bourgeoisie tale of love, madness, fading dreams and poetic ramblings, all with the feelings of a melancholic, strangely erotic and dreamy fairy tale.Sunflower sees the weary hearted maiden Eveline leave the city of Pest and return to her country estate to escape the memory of a despairing love to the charmer Kalman, she seems to be quite the girl, From the sublime to the ridiculous, Hungarian maestro Gyula Kr dy orchestrates his singular vision using prose of the art nouveau period, to create a bourgeoisie tale of love, madness, fading dreams and poetic ramblings, all with the feelings of a melancholic, strangely erotic and dreamy fairy tale.Sunflower sees the weary hearted maiden Eveline leave the city of Pest and return to her country estate to escape the memory of a despairing love to the charmer Kalman, she seems to be quite the girl, with many others falling at her feet in an attempt to languish their love for her Visited one day by the bizarre Miss Maszkeradi who appears to be a force of nature when it comes to men, she is taken in and all sorts of manipulating takes place Any plot if I can call it that is somewhat buried in myth, and always finds ways of becoming odd and farcical, one minute drenched in elegant enlightenment, the next bordering on sheer lunacy , from drunkards in taverns to doomed aristocrats and singing gypsies there is never a dull moment, even if at times things cloud the mind like a haze of morning fog.Anyone who admires the work Robert Walser, Bruno Schulz or Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky will in all likelihood find this a joy For me it was certainly worth reading, but wished it carried a littlerealism in places I never had much of a talent for simile, which is why writing this review is making me as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.This 1918 Hungarian novel was inventive, shifting storylines and characters Vignettes were well told It s probably something that should be re read and studied, diagrammed maybe And yet what I will take away from it, and what was my undoing, was simile.The book begins with a truly spectacular opening paragraph, and also our first simile The yo I never had much of a talent for simile, which is why writing this review is making me as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.This 1918 Hungarian novel was inventive, shifting storylines and characters Vignettes were well told It s probably something that should be re read and studied, diagrammed maybe And yet what I will take away from it, and what was my undoing, was simile.The book begins with a truly spectacular opening paragraph, and also our first simile The young miss lay abed reading a novel by the light of the candelabra She heard faint creaks from another part of the townhouse was someone walking in a remote room She lowered her book and listened The hands of the clock were creeping up on midnight like some soul climbing a rock face.I was sold But while the plot thickened, so did the similes Every page, every paragraph, seemingly every sentence, as if like and as were unstoppable I became as distracted as a trial lawyer addressing a naked jury To wit I became as cheerful as a fallen girl after her confession as touchy as a gouty heel I can only crave you, crave you like sunshine that can not be held Her eyes flashed at times like a knifeblade honed at night near a nomadic campfire Meanwhile Risoulette stood in the door bewildered, like a woman who has spilled kerosene on her shirt but cannot find a match to set it aflame I m not the kind of man you can just drop like a worn boot on the highway But I still love you, just as the groom s best man loves the first locust blossoms Winter whistled in my chimney, and now Spring fills the world, like tunes from a military band on a Danube steamer The moon surveyed the scene over the marshes, like a sheriff who decides to leave the outlaws in peace tonight He took a prolonged draught from a smoky jug, just like a thirsty forest in a May downpour He was suddenly jealous, and as downcast as an ancient sumac tree whose sunlight is cut off by a new wall.Sometimes he worked in two in one sentence The doves were tumbling in the air above the manor house like distant springtime memories of youth, and Pistoli, in a tragic gesture, interlaced the knobby fingers of his two hands, like the branches of a lilac bush.Two , then I promise I ll stop, like a robin who flies into my sliding glass door and then waddles away confused Transience squats by the foot of the bed like a moribund, faithful old servitor Only the insomniac looks on with open eyes, like a cadaver who forgot to die. I could not finis h this book I read 29% First, let me point out that the samples available fromshould NOT be only the introduction to the book The introduction is written by a writer different from the author You cannot glimpse the author s style from this I also checked the the very beginning of the book that can be read at thesite This did intrigue me It was suspenseful, amusing and filled with similes that I enjoyed I thought the similes were very perceptive Try this I could not finis h this book I read 29% First, let me point out that the samples available fromshould NOT be only the introduction to the book The introduction is written by a writer different from the author You cannot glimpse the author s style from this I also checked the the very beginning of the book that can be read at thesite This did intrigue me It was suspenseful, amusing and filled with similes that I enjoyed I thought the similes were very perceptive Try this one on page 45 at dawn he would have stopped in at St Roch s Chapel where the poor nuns, like white seagulls by the ocean s dark shore, sat in the pews, row after row, saying prayers as adventitious as birdsong.One simile at a time, that I like, but when whole paragraphs are nothing but similes about a character you do not even know, well then my interest drops like a stone You even forget who is being described sometimes Here, try this description of a croupier in a gambling hall on page 47 A dyed mustache, meticulous shave, pomaded strands of hair pasted across his bald skull like dark twigs on winter trees this was the croupier He wore a green bunting jacket and tight pants, like landed gentry on a city outing He let the nail grow long on his little finger, and wore an oversize signet ring bought at a pawn shop He was on familiar terms with everyone present, for that was the style of the house His bulging frog s eyes took in his guests from top to toe, the rock in his tiepin was the size of a pea, and he wore his watch chain short, in the manner of army officers His platinum capped false teeth smiled enigmatically behind blue lips This man was never bothered by the thought that outdoors it might be springtime.He wore great big American shoes, equipped with ear and toothpicks in a silver case, a gilt backed mustache brush, a a silver cigar cutter, a pocketknife with a handle fashioned from an antler, and matching morocco leather notebook, mirror, wallet and change purse his back pocket had a Browning automatic, his lapel sported..I have only given you about half of the paragraph This is all about an insignificant character in the tale Let me say this very clearly The beginning of the book aroused my curiosity and intrigued me Then as I progressed into the novel it went off onto tangents, became overly descriptitve and put me to sleep I feel tricked What I read in the beginning is not what the book delivers I am giving up What a disappointment This is a New York Review Books Classic Oh, and not only did I dislike the excessiveness of the details, absolutely nothing has happened since the first chapter when Eveline left her home in Pest and moved out to her manor Bujdos Hideaway on the upper reaches of the River Tisza I have met three main characters Eveline, Kaliman and Andor Alimos Dreamer, and have been sufficiently informed about their ancestors with almost exactly the same names Nice and confusing A challenge, if you want that sort of a challenge All Eveline has done is left Pest All Andor has done is pretend he was dead and then sat up in his coffin Kaliman, Eveline s former fiance , tried to sneak into her apartment That was the exciting part in chapter one, but he only stole a sprig of frozen rosemary from her garden Yes, it is bizarre That is what intrigued me, but the writing style makes it impossible for me to enjoy it Maybe one should rad it as poetry, one paragraph at a time, while you read another book Sunflower by Gyula Kr dy NYRB, trans from the Hungarian by John B tki, introduction by John Lukacs Kr dy has been hailed by his fellow Hungarians as not only one of the greatest Hungarian writers, but maybe the greatest He has been compared to Robert Walser and Bruno Schulz, not because of any similarities, but because, like them, he is unclassifiable, and his greatness has been described by S ndor M rai as almost past comprehension Given all the above, the reader may be slightly disappoin Sunflower by Gyula Kr dy NYRB, trans from the Hungarian by John B tki, introduction by John Lukacs Kr dy has been hailed by his fellow Hungarians as not only one of the greatest Hungarian writers, but maybe the greatest He has been compared to Robert Walser and Bruno Schulz, not because of any similarities, but because, like them, he is unclassifiable, and his greatness has been described by S ndor M rai as almost past comprehension Given all the above, the reader may be slightly disappointed by his novel, Sunflower written in 1918 and published for the first time in English in 1997 Lukacs s introduction warns us about the difficulties to translate Kr dy s poetic prose not only because of his style, but also because of the hidden allusions cultural, historical that only a Hungarian can understand With an ambiguous formulation, he tells the reader that the translator has tried and largely succeeded As I read the book, I tried to find in my mind literary equivalents for it, and the only one I came up with was Craii de Curtea Veche by the Romanian writer Mateiu Caragiale, a novel written around the same time and hailed by Romanian writers as an unequaled masterpiece What these books have in common, aside from a poetic, archaic style, is an atmosphere of fin de si cle, of a gone world that the narrators are trying to bring back through the power of words The world they describe and which triggers their nostalgia is one in which men drink their fill and reminisce about past lovers in other words, a world that is itself prone to nostalgic remembrance In this world, the inn is the emblematic space of dramatic encounters, a microcosm from which stories about other worlds unspool, where an old woman spotted at a nearby table triggers a long story about a bygone beauty and the drama that had once surrounded her This nostalgia about nostalgia creates a dreamlike universe, but this universe is far from being depicted as some kind of idyllic space on the contrary, there is a crudeness and even an ugliness to the people in it The apparent contradiction between this nostalgia and the world that is its object makes me think that these two authors may be impossible to translate for an American audience.And this brings me to the issue of translation, and to whether translating a book from a very different culture and historical time is possible In this case, I think the answer is no, not because translating the author s words might be impossible What is impossible to translate is what the author hasn t said, and which is, nevertheless, present in the book a sensibility circumscribed to a certain culture and historical time The idea of a bygone world and the accompanying nostalgia may be to some degree universal in American literature, Gone with the Wind is a great example , but what differentiates an American and a Hungarian is that loss gives the latter a perverse pleasure Compare the spirit of Scarlet O Hara who, undeterred by all she s lost, declares courageously, Tomorrow is another day, hopeful that she can start all over again, to Kr dy s characters who will do tomorrow what they are doing today reminisce about yesterday.Add to the above the fact that, unlike most novels, Krudy s novel has several centers from which radiate several stories For the first half, a woman, Eveline, seems to be the main protagonist, but then, the focus shifts to her neighbor, Pistoli, who becomes the main character Pistoli is the incarnation of the old Hungary whose loss the narrator and the author deplores, and with whom most American readers, especially women, would find it hard to identify an ugly yet impressive man, presumably in his sixties, who venerates the bottle, takes himself for a philosopher and doesn t spare the reader his numerous witticisms , thinks with nostalgia about the dozens of mistresses from his past, and sometimes visits his former wives, now locked up by him in mental institutions On the other hand, the mating dance of cruelty between Pistoli and Miss Maszkeradi, a wild woman and feminist avant la lettre, is fascinating, as is the relationship between her friend, the suave Eveline and her suitor, Andor Almos Dreamer who is, indeed, a dreamer The novel doesn t have a plot per se, but a series of events, which don t really develop toward a climax rather, they go up and down, and right and left until Pistoli s death restores a lost equilibrium and brings some hope for the future of Eveline and Almos Dreamer This is a novel about the death of Old World, pre WWI Hungary, but it feels less like a dirge andlike a wake Krudy s prose weaves together a ballad of rogation and celebration in its conjuring of a great lost world, filled with madcap midnight revelers, besotted dreamers, endless mystical bottles of wine, and charmingly falstaffian men like Mr Pistoli, who, before attempting a seduction, does only two things soaks his feet and clears his throat Oh, and he occasionally returns home afte This is a novel about the death of Old World, pre WWI Hungary, but it feels less like a dirge andlike a wake Krudy s prose weaves together a ballad of rogation and celebration in its conjuring of a great lost world, filled with madcap midnight revelers, besotted dreamers, endless mystical bottles of wine, and charmingly falstaffian men like Mr Pistoli, who, before attempting a seduction, does only two things soaks his feet and clears his throat Oh, and he occasionally returns home after weeks on the amorous side streets to tint his mustache Pistoli emerges as the book s lothario philosopher, a beguiling cross between Dionysus and St Francis He embodies the biotic spirit of old Hungary, both as the remembered image of lusty former life and a man who, within his own sphere, constantly remembers and re imagines his own past in pursuit of an always evanescent present happiness Though it s carnal, it s not all carnival, for a pall of loss and degradation brought about by the new world disorder hangs over this book The signature mark of Krudy s prose is his relentless employment of simile, repeatedly evoking parallel images that both flesh out their referents but also suggest their incompleteness, as when Krudy writes, In the afternoon a fog settled over the fields, like gray souls assembled to rehash the mournful circumstances of their demise The image of fog is enhanced by the simile, but the comparison also suggests that simply mentioning fog does not suffice to awaken the breadth of image Krudy wishes to convey The abundant similes often summon images suggestive of an earlier, simpler state of affairs, the loss of which the book bemoans, as when Krudy writes of one woman that she was a silent queen as beautiful as memory itself Simile, then, works to suggest parallels between the older better world and the newer sadder one for even the most melodious lovers have a way of dying, just like an old field hand Sunflower is not ultimately about nostalgia per se It s about the fantasy that nostalgia induces, for we don t simply remember We fancifully, inventively remember A chilling scene in the book s closing pages in which an apparently dead Mr Pistoli is seen standing in his grave, his hand groping for help, leaves the reader wondering whether the book indicts the kind of memory creative memory in which it constantly engages, or whether, as the scene might also suggest, we bury the Pistolic spirit it at the risk of losing something fundamental about our identities Among the many powers of this novel is its combination of specific evocation of place and time and thegeneral expansiveness it achieves by being, like One Hundred Years of Solitude or Waiting for the Barbarians, a book about a contained world that becomes a simile for other ones, like our own I live with a fear Each novel I read will be effaced in my mind The recall will blur and float into ether The inscriptions will be softened and removed, leaving only vague blushes of recognition, while fertile patches of perfection are lost to me forever Novels such as Sunflower are very supect in this regard There isn t much of a plot as far as any arc is concerned There are only images They are certainly eloquent and incisive, but they are but stills and miniatures Such taunts my seizu I live with a fear Each novel I read will be effaced in my mind The recall will blur and float into ether The inscriptions will be softened and removed, leaving only vague blushes of recognition, while fertile patches of perfection are lost to me forever Novels such as Sunflower are very supect in this regard There isn t much of a plot as far as any arc is concerned There are only images They are certainly eloquent and incisive, but they are but stills and miniatures Such taunts my seizured brain His big buck teeth, protuberant bullish eyes, lowering, growling voice, oversized, meaty ears, calloused knuckles and pipe stem legs altogether produced a peculiar effect on the females of the region For there are still many women around who will kiss the spot where her man has hit her who will put up with years of suffering to receive a kind word at the last hour who will cut off her hair, pull out her teeth, put out her bright eyes, clench down her empty stomach, ignore her tormenting pass His big buck teeth, protuberant bullish eyes, lowering, growling voice, oversized, meaty ears, calloused knuckles and pipe stem legs altogether produced a peculiar effect on the females of the region For there are still many women around who will kiss the spot where her man has hit her who will put up with years of suffering to receive a kind word at the last hour who will cut off her hair, pull out her teeth, put out her bright eyes, clench down her empty stomach, ignore her tormenting passion, say goodbye to springtime, beauty, life itself if her man so commands Pistoli went about growling like a wild boar, and women wiggled their toes at him, to tease the monster Thus he lived to bury three wives.Eveline is a country miss of Hungary, a Hungary of bygone times White walls and cafes to dream of servant girls who wear red shoes to tempt the men into clandestine affairs Sledding and paying off armed men in the night with booze stashes My fairy tale belly rejected this mythical fantasy land like the wolf chopped out of the grandmother with the wood ax rather than drool at the corners of a wide smile hanging in the man and rabbit frolicking on the moon sky Wait, what about the poor young women who get bellies full after these affairs and the products get chopped out with the axes of a cruel society What about everyone ever who wasn t the born with no problems at all Eveline Honestly I had it up to here with the virgin stuff I couldn t take the fantasy land of Hungary and the virgin worship I realize that in the world always there are people who consider the so called purity of a woman to be the basis of everything else I don t get it I would sooner read about hinging all of life on something like high school football Something really lame Anything other than if someone else does something that makes them happy If these men cannot find fulfillment in any other way than if a woman doesn t have sex then they are not interesting to me as people Eveline is loved by all the men because she is untouched Untouched by life hard work she inherited a fortune, houses, servants , sex, and well, life I read this months ago and I am still revolted by one of the male characters who was so disgusted by women who pursued sex How dare they Someone might come along and say something about culture or product of the time I don t care about that It is a fairy tale fantasy that I could not care about So Eveline has this ridiculous love interest Andor lmos Dreamer He kills himself for her it is so stupid and then in the end of the book is somehow alive again even stupider Other men have creepy mother sex fantasies of the pure Eveline and it is so so boring She behaves like a little girl and plays make believe because she doesn t have to do anything with her life because she has a lot of money Good for her I didn t care if she preferred the country life to Budapest I felt pretty stupid for wasting my time on a book that is about a girl who decides to live in the country and then her dead boyfriend comes back to life Miss Maszker di positively abhorred novelists who always write about old men remembering youthful adventures Thus she could not stand Turgenev, whom Eveline would have read night and day.She probably would have agreed with me about Sandor M rai s Embers I read on wikipedia after finishing Sunflower that M rai played a hand in bringing Kr dy again to the Hungarian public s attention If I had known that I probably wouldn t have bothered with Sunflower I really hated Embers so sue me Sunflower is like Embers in the writing style of constant narration that explains to you how important everything is about everyone without ever showing any of it happen It is only known because the author says that it is so I don t like this kind of book Eveline is such a sweetheart This person is such a good person, such a pure heart That person is this It is dull to write this way Maszker di carries on a love affair with a gnarly tree I found this one sided affair to at least beinteresting and believable than their melting loins devotion to Pistoli At least the tree had an excuse to be devoid of a good personality What kind of a Bluebeard fucked up shit was Pistoli He locks up his wives in mental institutions I don t miss the Hungary of ornery horny old men in their sixties if that is what it was like That she wanted to hug the tree andwasbelievable to me than that she wanted him Wouldn t a lusty young woman want a man who was visually appealing How come they don t have the right to sleep with someone who isn t decrepit But hey, so long as the book says everything happens that way If I m told Pistoli is a tragic loss to Hungary, a hero, that doesn t make me believe it Is the only reason to care about anyone is that they are born to an accepted nationalistic identity Says who Eveline thoughtlessly expects an authoritative position over her so called best friend, buys her first fiancee If she had difficulty with Budapest friends and found it smooth sailing with the country folk I think it hadto do with their accepting her buying them without resentment I would have found itinteresting if that had been addressed rather than something taken for granted as the perfect Miss Eveline in the right over those who weren t born rich as she was Sunflower really wasn t for me.I didn t like The Moon and the Bonfire either I hope to not read anyNYRB selections about how awful women who have sex are Those books probably don t like me either