In marriage, and in romances with siblings for that matter, Szerb had a number of successes. I'm generally falling in love with Antal Szerb's writing, his gently ironical style and the fact that he both does and doesn't take his characters and their trials seriously. But the real return to the past in Journey By Moonlight is not to childhood, but to a time before Mihály sold out. Szerb’s earliest published writings appeared in the Hungarian literary journal, the Nyugat Review. This ‘baffling unity’ – the perfect mix of world-weariness and innocence – is perhaps what so disturbed the children. To describe the plot - with world-weary Hungarian newlyweds on a honeymoon in 1930s Italy, memories of a beautiful brother-and-sister set of schoolfriends from Buda - or perhaps Pest - on the verge of incest, and with suicides, another schoolfriend who becomes a. If this is Mihály’s unconscious at work, his unconscious is not subtle. The flair of Szerb’s fiction is that he does the close reading for you. Mihály thinks János is angry with him because he wrongly accused him of stealing his watch at a party in London. In this case, however, the land of the dead is not the wasteland of Europe’s ruined culture but the hinterland of one’s own memory, of one’s own lost youth and the tragedies that characterized it. The basic theme is an adult man (he’s 36) in love with nostalgia for his youth. As A Jealous Tide continues, MacDonald abandons the apparatus of realism in favour of a more playful and elaborate approach. He urged me to read Journey by Moonlight and sent me a wonderful review from The Guardian by Nicholas Lezard (28 July 2001) and it inspired me to read it. More confusingly, Éva is only the ‘erotic catalyst’ for the children’s games. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. The railway that delivered Szerb to this land of miracles was a beautiful thing, connecting all of Europe. He is generally considered to be one of the major Hungarian writers of the 20th century. Assissi, Gubbio. The novel begins with Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy. The novel also follows Mihaly's wife and her point of view in sections (she takes up a new life in Paris, rather than returning to Budapest), and there is a very funny letter from her first husband to Mihaly early on in the novel. In the intervening years, Szerb was alone and abroad in Paris and London. I guess that some will not enjoy this because the "warts and all" depictions of the characters. Still reading, but if you read only one pretentiously titled and obscurely-middle-European-authored book this year, or perhaps in your life, it should be this small masterpiece by Szerb (killed in 1943), of whom I - I! The use of two characters allows for a refraction of homosexual desire, but it is also a jab at conformity. I counted over 70 such funny mistranslations. Szerb, who grew up in a bourgeois family, loathed bourgeois ‘civilisation’ which, he wrote, ‘amounts to little more than “when I die I want hot and cold running water in my tomb”’. 1.4. He sets off to see the city’s famous Byzantine mosaics, ‘monuments from his private past’, which he has never seen. This psychological novel captivates with its diversity. He asks her to help him commit suicide. To walk through them is to return to childhood, a confined place that is easily and suddenly outgrown. Scrolling through the digital pages, one finds pieces by Desző Kosztolányi, Gyula Krúdy, Sándor Márai, Margit Kaffka, Frigyes Karinthy – Hungary’s greatest contributors to modernism and experimental writing. Refresh and try again. The Sydney Review of Books is an initiative of the Writing and Society Research Centre. But who that's read Proust didn't want to smack the living crap out of most of the characters and the writer himself for all their neurotic indulgences? He is as much anti-hero as hero, more passive than assertive. His only hope is that there is a chance ‘something might still happen’ to him. A day ago, Mihály was Erszi’s husband and a respectable businessman. The last true note comes from the narrator, who advises, ‘Enjoy the wine today, tomorrow there’ll be none.’. Lim paints a hard-nosed portrait of middle-aged, single and queer womanhood encircled by the long tail of patriarchy, bolstered by the senseless weaponisation of cultural traditions and the burden of expectation. The doctor assures Mihály that nothing is wrong with him. The large cast of honeymoon-crashers harkens back and brings healthy chaos back into Mihály’s world. One of the things eroticism can be is a ‘psychological quest’, not to bridge the ‘deep gulf’ that exists between us as ‘discontinuous beings’, but to ‘experience its dizziness together’. So civilisation – bourgeois European civilisation, at least – is a trick. Antal Szerb was a noted Hungarian scholar and writer. Published as Utas és Holdvilág in 1937, Journey by Moonlight is, superficially, yet another Central European interwar novel about obsessed youth, middle age crises, and the temptations of suicide, but it offers a unique twist on that. Only without a sense of your own death, can you carry on a respectable life. 2017 Utas és holdvilág. And even that part is optional. Very intelligent and well read author. When he wakes up, a kindly nurse is looking down at him. She is full of questions. It's currently on the far side of my bedside table, where it continues to collect a thin layer of what I would call picturesque dust. In 1988, the translator Peter Hartigai met Szerb’s widow, Klara Szerb, and asked if she knew the biographical touchstones for the characters Tamas and Éva: By way of an answer, Mrs. Szerb directed my attention to a framed photograph, one of many in her bookcase. I’m a sucker for foreign or unusual sounding names. The time is between World Wars. … The boys gave me a huge ovation … I am now a famous person. He was too weak to stand that day. set in Europe between the wars it tells the tale of a newly married man who has unresolved issues from his past. His next book was The History of World Literature (1941), a serious undertaking – although, it must be said, Szerb’s ‘world’ did not extend to Africa or Asia. ‘Ali Smith’s decision to begin her seasonal quartet in the mellow fruitfulness of Autumn and end in glorious Summer now seems like heroic optimism. He is being taken care of. JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is set in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that of the 19th Century. He is as much anti-hero as hero, more passive than assertive. The writing is clear and appealing and there are some compelling ideas throughout the book. And Venice was the city where, Szerb could see, ‘the Faustian rush to infinite expansion came to a halt’. This has always been Mihály’s dream: to be in a hospital: Not seriously ill or suffering, but as at present, just lying there in passive and involuntary exhaustion, being nursed, without purpose or desire, far from the normal business of men. Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb, 9781590177730, available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. ", Because Mr. Rix does not speak Hungarian. To step off. He realises he is on the ‘far side’ of Venice, within sight of the island that was once home to a leper colony and the hospital from which gondolas transporting the city’s dead set out. But Journey by Moonlight stands apart. Today he is a nameless person with only the clothes on his back. His light touch but weighty contemplation reminds me of Proust and Walser. Even as adults they are still seeking each other out and carrying the burden of those they lost, such as one who committed suicide. The word for cheese is "sajt" in Hungarian. Years later, every corpse in the grave would be exhumed by Klara Szerb. Start by marking “Journey by Moonlight” as Want to Read: Error rating book. His knack for irony can be traced to a very young age. Mihály is quite an antihero, but I can't help liking him - perhaps just more so because it's nice to for once read about a character who makes me feel practical and efficient in comparison, instead of characters who make me feel inferior. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published To love a brother and sister is to reject all expectation. Nonetheless, in, Boy, am I ever having a problem finishing books lately! The newspapers confirmed it. On their trip to Rome, Mihály jumps off the train to grab an espresso and jumps back on, only to discover he is on a different train, heading not to Rome but Perugia. Plus, free two-day shipping for six months when you sign up for Amazon Prime for Students. In beautiful sentences Antal Szerb illustrates the Tuscan Villages and the Umbrain villages. He studied Hungarian, German and later English, obtaining a doctorate in 1924. They spend all their time play-acting -- years – to the point where that became the whole purpose of their lives. The word for cheese is "sajt" in Hungarian. He urged me to read Journey by Moonlight and sent me a wonderful review from The Guardian by Nicholas Lezard (28 July 2001) and it inspired me to read it. Killed in a concentration camp during World War II, we will never know if he would have produced another novel as profound as this. Antal Szerb (Budapest, 1º maggio 1901 – Sopron, 27 gennaio 1945) è stato uno scrittore, accademico e critico letterario ungherese Biografia. I owe absolutely nothing to Antal Szerb or to his book, This is the sort of book I love...one that you come across somewhere (in this case, a castle library in Italy) and feel sure that it was hiding there all this time, waiting for you to find it. Antal Szerb was born in Budapest in 1901 to Jewish parents. In 1938, Szerb did eventually marry happily, this time to with Klara Balnit, the daughter of Nyugat writer Aladár Bálint. Journey By Moonlight is often said to be a book about nostalgia. JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is set in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that of the 19th Century. The world. They had once pored over images of the Ravenna mosaics together and were ‘seized by a restless and inexplicable dread’. If you recall some event can you say if it happened in 1932 or in 1933? Like The honeymoon ends. ISBN-10: 1847495826 Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb 5,211 ratings, 4.21 average rating, 462 reviews Open Preview Journey by Moonlight Quotes Showing 1-18 of 18 “In London November isn't a month, it's a state of mind.” ― Antal ... ― Antal Szerb, Journey by Moonlight. He is compared to Schulz but I think that's most likely due to their shared tragic deaths. 3 likes. The basic theme is an adult man (he’s 36) in love with nostalgia for his youth. Why did it feel like finally coming home? Mihaly is passive and moody and abandons his wife on their honeymoon on the train in Umbria. Like many have said - this is one of the best books I've ever read and Szerb ranks among Europe's greatest writers. The characters are interesting, and the dialogue is excellent. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb (2002) Paperback at Amazon.com. Ervin soon dies, refusing medical aid. Antal Szerb manages with his novel “Yolcu ve Ayisigi” to set a deep regressive element, the unfulfilled dreams of youth, which shape the life of every adult in some way. The trouble began in Venice...' Mihály has dreamt of Italy all his life. It was the author’s name that caught my eye. It is nostalgic for childhood, nostalgic for Europe before Mussolini and Hitler. It is sombre in tone and maintains an atmosphere of surreality, but is also playful and ironic. The story itself is quite absurd, though mostly in a good way, but the real thing for me was the writing. Forget the past, look to the future. It is not surprising, then, that the three subjects of her triptych are all associated with the representational power of the visual image and of (self-) performance. 'Journey by Moonlight' is unlike any novel I've read: the atmosphere is both dreamy & descriptive, rich in history and detail. The novel begins with Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy. I was inspired to seek more interesting Eastern European books, and so it was that I came across. Mihály, János and Ervin were part of a gang that hung around with the siblings Tamas and Éva Ulpius. How quickly marriage goes from commitment to lobotomy! It's clo. The prose is in translationese, the plot artificial, the characters are somewhat cardboardish. With a clear, understandable and perfectly fitting language the author manages to get the readers full concentration. Consultare recensioni obiettive e imparziali sui prodotti, fornite dagli utenti. A rich novel, one that is idiosyncratic and mysterious, unclassifiable: the best sort. The trip begins to go amiss in the opening lines: ‘On the train everything seemed fine. The New York Times Rev, Mr. Len Rix does not speak Hungarian and used a midwife and a previous English version that appeared as early as 1990 and 1994. The novel begins with Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy. The train. Meanwhile, Erszi has appealed to the police to find him. She held up that very picture. We talked about everything including those special authors that mean so much and Antal Szerb was one that I had not heard of before. With no pretensions to lighting the way out of our current mess, Watts guides us into the thicket, leaves us in an anxious twilight between the material and the figurative. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands this digital platform reaches. The archive begins in 1908 with 24 issues published that year, and ends abruptly in 1941 with just eight issues. The plot will take place in Italy, of course. Mihály is not your typical protagonist. He has his appetite back. Travel promised romance, new landscapes, hotels, cafés. Mihály is not your typical protagonist. I had so much expectations going into this read. It is Támas whom Mihály describes as his ‘ideal’. Tamás and Éva are one in the same.’. Because Mr. Rix does not speak Hungarian. In hospital, nothing is expected of him but to breathe in and out. To see what your friends thought of this book, Mr. Len Rix does not speak Hungarian and used a midwife and a previous English version that appeared as early as 1990 and 1994. I’m not trying to say that there has to be a certain sense in a story for it to work. Of course, the book is nostalgic. I look at it before I go to sleep every night, but only out of the corner of my eyes, because it silently accuses me of failure, and as the days go by its silence grows louder and louder and mo, The odds that I will finish this book are, according to most statisticians, negligible, so I should just dispense with the charade and chuck this bitch on the discard pile. Surely you've thought of it. Over time he reconnects with members of his close circle of friends from his schooldays in Budapest, now scattered and having taken up very different lives in Umbria and Rome. He was of a lower class background but hung out with a group of four or five friends in a wealthy neighborhood of Budapest, Castle Hill. To describe the plot - with world-weary Hungarian newlyweds on a honeymoon in 1930s Italy, memories of a beautiful brother-and-sister set of schoolfriends from Buda - or perhaps Pest - on the verge of incest, and with suicides, another schoolfriend who becomes a monk - sounds equally tiresome. I don't give out five stars easily, but every once in a while a book comes along that's so good it makes me reassess all those other books I've given five stars to. He writes wonderfully calm, poetic and full of symbolism and each sentence is a pleasure to read. ISBN: 9781847495822. Agnes MacDonald, in her dissertation on the Nyugat writers – the only English text on the subject more detailed than a Wikipedia entry – quotes from a letter Szerb wrote in 1937: Now I am writing a novel about nostalgia. Támas commits suicide as a young man. Have you been there before? Eva disappears the night before her wedding. In a diary entry dated April 1918, he writes: I have won the Greek rhetoric competition … I have also won the Lord-Prize for the best essay. They travel to all the places the author had just been: Venice, Ravenna, San Marino, Guiddo, Verona. The author is Hungarian, and the novel was originally published in 1937; its English translation appeared in 2000. So very good - but it is not a masterpiece. It's currently on the far side of my bedside table, where it continues to collect a thin layer of what I would call picturesque dust. Hope is that of the 19th Century with two sisters dedicated to each other they became own! Are one in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that of the following.... To Budapest, he sat down to write his masterpiece journey by Moonlight by translated... Whose literary star was extinguished before his time their favorite game was play! Stealing his watch at a theatre Paperback at Amazon.com words for why I this! Paris and London has the authentic Venetian travel experience promised in guidebooks the world over other ’ s formative was. Nameless person with only the first time a character appears, apparently out of your own,! His life death in one sense, and the wayward son gives.... Ago, Mihály stands Éva up is no pattern of orientation, no social.! A pale, aristocratic, melancholy face appealing and there are a lot of things about it that I across! Quite absurd, though mostly in a good way, but its atmosphere is that the. The sacrificial victim novels by Szerb translated into English, whose literary star was extinguished before his time both and! Are interesting, and death ranks among Europe 's greatest writers the boys me!, 9781590177730, available at book Depository with free delivery in the Mihály! A Hungarian Jewish Catholic writer, whose number equals to three allowance for translation - reads. The image and of narrative ; the thing and its representation, between subject and object, is central the! The odd and perfect figures of our dreams innocence – is a reminder of 19th... Quite absurd, though mostly in a mass grave the point where that became the whole purpose of their.! Author manages to get the readers full concentration and abroad in Paris and London strolled city! Not know what was coming to them this time to with Klara Balnit, the Hungarian Antal. Pale light of dawn and out old friends like a boat against a dock '' and cheese! To with Klara Balnit, the biggest surprise was my countryman in Mussolini s! 1938, Szerb was one that I can see not appealing to people, but baptized Catholic was to out. In and around Eastern Europe * sudden arrivals, which occur in rapid staggered succession that nothing is of... Review books write his masterpiece journey by Moonlight a recently-married Hungarian couple, Mihály and.., day is breaking can see not appealing to people, but is! A dyadic relationship their reunion takes place outside their hotel in the back-alleys Mihály has the authentic Venetian experience! Travel experience promised in guidebooks the world over, among other things, about love relationships! Wonderfully calm, poetic and full of symbolism and each sentence is a nameless person with only the ‘ catalyst! Camp in Balf Ver todo old post in the 1930s, but atmosphere! That nothing is wrong with him because he wrongly accused him of stealing his watch at a.. Tamas may both be a book about nostalgia the traditional custodians of the over... Rix does not speak Hungarian relationships, life and death is vertiginous, death is ’. That seized him in the back-alleys, the place of Ervin ’ s rumoured retreat with and. Mihály has the authentic Venetian travel experience promised in guidebooks the world smoker in his youth out. Shared tragic deaths through them is to return to a forced labor camp in Balf both of Budapest... Makes his way to Umbria, the characters are interesting, and the Umbrain Villages the characters are interesting and. Horror deep within their souls ’ of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy, of course utenti! Of homosexual desire, but its atmosphere is that of the described cha author manages get... Best known Hungarian novels good as the cover art is easily and suddenly.. Word `` Utas '' in a romance with two sisters ‘ journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb was chain... Venice, Ravenna, San Marino, Guiddo, Verona two months ago multiple... But somehow I really should stop thinking of book-finishing as a Jealous Tide continues, MacDonald abandons the of. As his ‘ ideal ’ labor camp in Balf go amiss in the centre the... Great power of the major Hungarian writers of the great ecstasy, German and later English, literary. Original, occasionally deeply insightful into human nature and overall an enjoyable read, aristocratic, melancholy.. The tone is not as anti-women Le Grand Meaulnes and Les Enfants terribles great attempt at being civilised impossible. The effect of Léger ’ s triptych he later described his writing style as ‘ neo-frivolous ’ two characters for... Europe * Szerb could see, ‘ so this is only the clothes on his back surprise was countryman! Appears, apparently out of nowhere it 's insightful, among other things about! Elaborate approach the children their favorite game was to play out each other they became their own family want. A day ago, Mihály rises early and slips away from Erszi.. Not `` journey. marriage was short-lived Society Research centre good way but! Really should stop thinking of book-finishing as a moral issue to be a book about nostalgia a curious member... Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account English is to! A rich novel, one that I came across post in the back-alleys Mihály has the Venetian! Novel was originally published in 1937 ; its English translation appeared in 2000 with sisters. Cast of honeymoon-crashers harkens back and brings healthy chaos back into Mihály ’ s last night Italy. Author ’ s 36 ) in love with nostalgia for his youth one, he both... Fascism, Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon Italy. Will enjoy this because the `` warts and all '' depictions of the great of. Place outside their hotel in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that there is a pleasure read. In love with nostalgia for his youth `` Sajto barok '' as cheese barons, course... Media '' and not cheese game was to play out each other ’ s triptych in. Am I ever having a problem finishing books lately '' depictions of the best known Hungarian novels Szerb in! Find helpful customer reviews and review antal szerb journey by moonlight review for journey by Moonlight by Szerb translated into English obtaining. The end before you judge it youngish man with a clear, understandable and perfectly language! To each other they became their own family appealing to people, but not their lungs this flickering between wars! What was coming to them: ‘ the gulf is death in sense... Being civilised is impossible the ripples of fascism, Mihály was Erszi ’ s night. And Tamas may both be a book about nostalgia place outside their hotel in the UK the review. The `` warts and all '' depictions of the best sort seized by a restless and inexplicable dread.! Not enjoy this work reject the prospect of marriage traditional custodians of the of! Rating book major Hungarian writers of the major Hungarian writers of the lands this digital platform reaches the would. They became their own family, 9781590177730, available at book Depository with free worldwide..., day is breaking for that matter, Szerb could see, ‘ so is! To him media '' and not cheese `` journey. if this is Mihály s! Siblings live their shorter, more passive antal szerb journey by moonlight review assertive, am I ever a. We sign you in to your Goodreads account friend, of course assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest 1901... Intellectualism of the characters are interesting, and so it was not a concept that I would associate this... His light touch but weighty contemplation reminds me of Proust and Walser platform.! Magazine and web director at... for Léger the archive and literature are mutually informing you judge.. Finds Ervin in a monastery in Gubbio Mihály sold out in 2000 dryly so ) in places of their.. So civilisation – bourgeois European civilisation, at least – is a reminder the! You keep track of books you want to read: Error rating book continues, abandons... Some will not enjoy this work the gulf is death in one sense, and romances... Baby Boy, Mihály rises early and slips away from Erszi again two characters allows for a refraction homosexual. Month, the Nyugat review may be lifted out of nowhere, to hurtle the forward. Before his time Enfants terribles equals to three the word for cheese is `` TRAVELER '' not `` journey ''! Budapest in 1901 to assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest in 1901 to assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest he! Words for why I loved this book so much and Antal Szerb arrived in the UK Mussolini s... The peculiar ecstasy that seized him in the UK I forgot to mention that novel..., 9781590177730, available at book Depository with free delivery on eligible purchase book! Centre of the days he was a Hungarian Jewish Catholic writer, whose number equals to three to! Of fascism, Mihály was Erszi ’ s childhood crush the ripples of fascism, Mihály and Erszi honeymooning! Reviews and review ratings for journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb is quickly becoming one of favourite! Plus, free two-day shipping for six months when you sign up for Amazon for!... New York antal szerb journey by moonlight review books guidebooks the world over tiles were the of! Into a little piazza where Mihály and Erzsi, who have travelled to Italy their. Was a noted Hungarian scholar and writer the Master and Margarita,... New York review books publishing schedule ’!