Voyage to Kazohinia
Voyage to Kazohinia
New Europe Books, Paperback, 9780982578124, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
"Voyage to Kazohinia" is a tour de force of twentieth-century literature--and it is here published in English for the first time outside of Hungary. Sandor Szathmari's comical novel chronicles the travels of a modern Gulliver on the eve of World War II. A shipwrecked English ship's surgeon finds himself on an unknown island whose inhabitants, the Hins, live a technologically advanced existence without emotions, desires, arts, money, or politics. Soon unhappy amid this bleak perfection, Gulliver asks to be admitted to the closed settlement of the Behins, beings with souls and atavistic human traits. He has seen nothing yet. A massively entertaining mix of satire and science fiction, "Voyage to Kazohinia" has seen half a dozen editions in Hungary in the seventy years since its original publication and remains the country's most popular cult classic.
Szathmari spent much of his career as a mechanical engineer; this, together with his limited oeuvre, the biting satire of his magnum opus, and his political persuasions--which ranged from an early, ambivalent affiliation with communism to anticommunism as Hungary became a communist dictatorship--kept him ever on the margins of the officially sanctioned literary establishment.
A central figure in Hungary's Esperanto movement for decades, Szathmari published his writings--including, most famously, "Voyage to Kazohinia"--in his own Esperanto-language editions, ensuring him a measure of international recognition and literary freedom during the communist era. The author lives in Died in 1974.
"Massively entertaining! . . . Make room for the new Gulliver. He has brought home news out of Kazohinia." -- Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz
“Written in 1935, Voyage to Kazohinia is a strikingly postmodern and open-ended dystopia that rightfully belongs among the twentieth-century classics of the genre. And it is unique in being less a strident political cautionary tale than it is a brilliantly mordant reflection on government, reason, and language.”
—Carter Hanson, Associate Professor of English, Valparaiso University
“[A] dystopian cult classic. . . . Gulliver washes up on the island of Kazohinia, which is populated by bizarre inhabitants . . . whose sense of morality and society force [him] to reconsider his own understanding of life, love, and death.”
“Highly entertaining. . . . Readers familiar with the classic Swift satire will find much to admire here, but those unfamiliar with Gulliver’s Travels should still have a good time.”
"A satire on our world of power politics... clever and inventive." -- Allan Massie, The Wall Street Journal
"However you interpret it, the novel is most certainly a literary masterpiece." -- William Auld
"Like Milton . . . Szathmári is fascinated by humankind’s precarious oscillation between good and evil; and, like the novelist Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, he is deeply suspicious of notions of human perfectibility this side of heaven itself." --Humphrey Tonkin, President Emeritus of the University of Hartford
"As if Bradbury and Orwell had been mixed with fresh wild berries, Voyage to Kazohinia was so ahead of its time that its time still hasn't caught up. Perhaps now it will." --Miklos Vamos, author of The Book of Fathers
"Voyage to Kazohinia belongs on every bookshelf alongside the works of Orwell, Huxley, and Zamyatin." -- Gyorgy Dragoman, author of The White King.
"Sándor Szathmári writes in the best tradition of Jonathan Swift in using the framework of an adventure story for a fascinating in-depth exploration of human relationships. . . . And he remarkably brings off a crystal-clear style that never gets boring in the least."
--Reinhard Fössmeier, International Academy of the Sciences San Marino
"A powerful stimulus to thought. What distinguishes Voyage to Kazohinia from similar ventures and yet links it to Huxley's Brave New World is its description of both utopia and dystopia."
--Michel Duc Goninaz, author of La Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto (Complete Illustrated Esperanto Dictionary)