Skylark

By Dezso Kosztolanyi; Richard Aczel (Translator); Peter Esterhazy (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590173398, 222pp.)

Publication Date: March 2, 2010

List Price: $14.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '10 Reading Group List
“New York Review Books' newest release is from the Hungarian author, Dezso Kostolanyi. Written in 1910, it explores family relationships with sparkling humor that is surprisingly relevant to modern times. Skylark is a middle-aged spinster residing with her doting parents in a small village, a microcosm of the universe. She leaves her parents for a week's vacation in the country, and, after an anguished parting, the parents engage with old compatriots and discover a zest long absent from their lives. With their newfound vigor Skylark's parents await the impending reunion with their daughter in this delightful romp of a novel. A keen wit and flair for the absurdities of human nature capture the complexities of family and village life in Europe at the turn of the century. Linda Gurrister”
-- Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT


Description
It is 1900, give or take a few years. The Vajkays--call them Mother and Father--live in Sarszeg, a dead-end burg in the provincial heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Father retired some years ago to devote his days to genealogical research and quaint questions of heraldry. Mother keeps house. Both are utterly enthralled with their daughter, Skylark. Unintelligent, unimaginative, unattractive, and unmarried, Skylark cooks and sews for her parents and anchors the unremitting tedium of their lives.
Now Skylark is going away, for one week only, it's true, but a week that yawns endlessly for her parents. What will they do? Before they know it, they are eating at restaurants, reconnecting with old friends, attending the theater. And this is just a prelude to Father's night out at the Panther Club, about which the less said the better. Drunk, in the light of dawn Father surprises himself and Mother with his true, buried, unspeakable feelings about Skylark.
Then, Skylark is back. Is there a world beyond the daily grind and life's creeping disappointments? Kosztolanyi's crystalline prose, perfect comic timing, and profound human sympathy conjure up a tantalizing beauty that lies on the far side of the irredeemably ordinary. To that extent, "Skylark" is nothing less than a magical book.



About the Author




PEter EsterhAzy, a member of one of Europe's most prominent aristocratic families, was born in Budapest in 1950. His books, published mostly in Europe, are considered to be significant contributions to postwar literature.
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