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Epepe (Karinthy Ferenc Muvei)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  833 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
Ci sono libri che hanno la prodigiosa, temibile capacità di dare, semplicemente, corpo agli incubi. "Epepe" è uno di questi. Inutile, dopo averlo letto, tentare di scacciarlo dalla mente: vi resterà annidato, che lo vogliate o no. Immaginate di finire, per un beffardo disguido, in una labirintica città di cui ignorate nome e posizione geografica, dove si agita giorno e not ...more
Published (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,212)
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I didn't like Metropole, but I expected to. The reviews I'd read around here said it was excellent. The quotes on the front and back covers raved (even going so far as to compare it to Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Trial).

There were times when I nearly quit reading, then some tiny moment recaptured my attention (sometimes a quite good moment, but most times a moment that pissed me off), so I toughed it out. I am suppose I am glad I did, but I don't recommend it even though I can't embrace hating
Dec 07, 2015 Gabriele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Si parla di incubo, nel risvolto di copertina, ed effettivamente questo "Epepe" sembra dare vita a un sogno fra i peggiori.

Immaginate per un attimo di finire in una città di cui non solo non avete mai sentito parlare, ma che è praticamente sconosciuta a tutta la nostra civiltà. Non basta: questa città, apparentemente estesa su una superficie immensa, è talmente popolata che aggirarsi per le sue strade significa essere travolti da una massa di persone inarrestabile. Dover comprare qualcosa nei ne
Jun 18, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mitteleuropa
Romanzo insensato, se fosse stato scritto da un americano sarebbe finito tra i distopici. Grazie al cielo l'ha scritto un ungherese, quindi abbiamo uno splendido racconto incentrato sull'impossibilità di comunicare.
Immaginate di risvegliarvi per sbaglio in una città sconosciuta. Non capite dove siete e meno ancora capite le persone che vi stanno intorno, le quali parlano una lingua che non sembra riconducibile a nessun idioma conosciuto. Attorno a voi un gran casino, una sovrappopolata metropol
Sep 07, 2009 DC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mi ha rammentato “Il paese dei ciechi”, di Wells. Solo che quest’ultimo è, molto opportunamente, in primo luogo un racconto e quindi non la tira inutilmente per le lunghe, ripetendo troppe volte gli stessi concetti e le stesse situazioni, come invece accade in qui. E, in seconda battuta, è assai più coerente e logico nell’esposizione dei fatti, che sono in entrambi i casi anomali e paradossali.

“Epepe” manca di incisività, per quanto mi riguarda. La situazione, molto interessante e densa di spunt
Sep 23, 2009 Nathanimal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review might've easily become a tirade about how valuable my time is. But then screaming as much onto the internet to no one in particular struck me as ironic. And, let's face it, my time really isn't that valuable.

Okay so, this seemed like a no-brainer, a book starred for inclusion in my personal cannon. Plot: A linguist, Budai, gets dropped at Ground Zero of the Tower of Babel (figuratively, probably, though there are signs that the author might've meant it literally too i.e. the suspicio
May 26, 2008 Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hungary
"At the beginning of Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler there is a passage on the various types of books we meet in our lives, such as those we haven’t read, those we needn’t read, and those we plan to read. One of the more obscure categories is books that fill you with sudden, inexplicable curiosity, not easily justified, and it’s to this category that I assign Ferenc Karinthy’s Metropole (1970), published in English for the first time. Well, perhaps not inexplicable, as its stra ...more
Luke Roberts
Jan 05, 2013 Luke Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Metropole is the story of Budai, who finds himself in a city alien to him, it is a sea of constant traffic and people, the citizens busy, rude and all speaking an indecipherable language.
The writing succeeded in making me feel as trapped as Budai from the first chapter. All avenues of hope are seemingly blocked for him, the way he is hustled from one queue to another by the constant mass of people in the city, only to be waved away and left confused when finally reaching the front, is one of Bud
Dec 26, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, reviews
Never fall asleep on a plane to Helsinki. Budai does so en route to a linguistics conference and, by the end of the first page, finds himself in an unknown city whose teeming inhabitants speak an unknown language written in an unknown script. Unable to communicate and continuously ignored, Budai tries to make sense of his circumstances and find some way out. But the city is dreamlike, a nightmare, and apparently endless. Given that the novel was first published in Hungary in 1970, Metropole may ...more
Jun 15, 2012 amiantos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved loved loved this book. The kind of book that you can read and not really "get" the underlying meaning of until long after. It's been at least a month or two since I finished reading it and I still can't stop thinking about it. Truly one of the few really deeply emotionally moving books I've read, and it didn't even make much sense to me when I read it.
Mar 01, 2016 Francesco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Per un banalissimo errore (anche se non è sicuro nemmeno lui di come siano andate esattamente le cose), Budai si ritrova in una città sconosciuta in cui si parla una lingua incomprensibile la gente è sempre di fretta.
La cosa ironica è che Budai stava andando a un congresso di linguistica, di cui è un esperto, ma nonostante questo non è affatto in grado di decifrare la lingua parlata in quella città. Farsi capire è un'impresa impossibile, perché nessuno si ferma più del tempo strettamente necess
Jun 26, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one the most contemporary, chilling and visionary books that I have read. Think of Orwell's and Huxley's dystopian views, at to these a touch of urbanism and then mix them all up with "Children of Men","12 Monkeys", "The Fifth Element".

What do you get? Metropole.

The main character, a linguists, gets caught in a context he cannot decode: a densely packed multiracial city where no one speaks the same language, where armed revolutions spring, are suppressed, and are erased from history at
Jamie Rose
Dec 04, 2010 Jamie Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just staggered to the end of Ferenc Karinthy's novel Metropole. It's about a linguist called Budai, en-route to Helsinki, who somehow ends up in a nameless, nightmarish city, unable to communicate with anyone around him. Where is he? And why? Food tastes different; the dialects are all wrong; the streets are constantly packed; meanings and names and faces shift and change...The book mixes suspense, horror and farce to great effect, always knocking you slightly off-centre with facts that don't ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Sequoia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Ferenc Karinthy’s dystopian novel, Metropole, the protagonist, Budai, a Hungarian linguist traveling to Helsinki for a conference, inexplicably finds himself in a sprawling city overcrowded with people who can neither speak nor understand any languages known to him. Everything around Budai – the signs on the street, the smell and taste of food, the ubiquitous presence of endless queues at nearly every establishment – is foreign and perplexing to him. In fact, nothing around Budai seems to sug ...more
Alan Marchant
Jul 11, 2009 Alan Marchant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, dystopia
Fable of Babel

Metropole, by Hungarian Ferenc Karinthy, is a secular retelling of Genesis 11.

The protagonist, Budai, is a linguist who awakens in an unidentifiable metropolis where all language is unintelligible. The society does not require communication from a populace that stays on task and (literally) in line.

Budai is recognizable as a Kafka character: ostensibly sophisticated, but self-absorbed to the point of helplessness. He serves merely as a tracer for a cyclic social process of regimen
Mar 13, 2015 Rainbowgirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, naufrage
En partance pour un congrès, un linguiste polyglote hongrois atterrit par erreur dans un pays inconnu. Il n'a aucune idée de la région du monde où il se trouve et est incapable de reconnaître à quelle famille de langues appartient celle des habitants. Privé de tous ses repères, bousculé de toutes parts dans la cohue d'une mégalopole étrangère et oppressante, il ne peut qu'essayer de survivre comme un naufragé sur une île déserte : seul et sans possibilité de contact avec d'autres humains.

Ce roma
May 01, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this whilst on holiday in Croatia. There were a couple of times at the airports on my travels which were redolent of the bustling of humanity that comes through so strongly in this book. I really quite enjoyed the technical linguistic stuff - made me wish I had continued the languages post16 and has planted a few lifelong learning seeds.

Really quite a slow read - a few episodes where the main character Budai seems to be communicating with others, but these are always dashed, which is di
Apr 02, 2009 Eugene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
didn't get into it. could've been me though. read this on jury duty, which might have contributed to my reaction. waiting for that particular bureaucracy to punish or reward you is probably the second worst situation in which to confront this book. traveling being probably the topper. though best could be swapped for worst in that sentence. made me realize that the description, "like kafka," isn't really a great thing.

a probably unfair comparison--but as far as immigrant hell, THE ARRIVAL by sha
Feb 14, 2012 Marcus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a poor attempt to follow in Kafka's existential footsteps simply because the level of alienation Budai feels is too extreme. In 'The Outsider', Mersault is still within the confines of normal society but personally feels distant and ambivalent towards it. In 'The Trial', Jospeph K. has to deal with an intransigent, bureaucratic legal system but at least they speak the same language.

This cannot be said of Metropole where the alienation soon grows repetitive and boring and whilst one can s
May 18, 2016 Ira rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a brief review, not a recommendation. It is difficult to describe this book so I won't. What it expresses is first and foremost frustration - the sensation that keeps your fingers suspended mid-air and eager to move to the dreaded next page - but also a maddening anxiety of incommunicability that invests you as you suddenly realise, in a shiver of banality, that the common in communication is what makes the darned thing possible in the first place. And more. It mocks the futility, vanity ...more
Lee Paris
I had previously read a synopsis of this book and it appealed to me as a book worth reading for a couple of reasons. It reminded me of unpleasant dreams where I've tried to accomplish a task or arrive at a destination, but I've encountered obstacles at very turn. Also, I'm reminded of those times when I've got lost in a large foreign city, traveled in the wrong direction while on public transportation or been diverted to a different airport from the one at which I intended to land. Budai, the pr ...more
Jun 25, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First of all, for full disclosure I should say that I ended up skimming a fairly large portion at the end of this book.

For me, when they say the book is Kafka-esque, I don't think that's really a good thing. At first the ever present feeling of rising panic and irritation was novel and interesting and then about 75 pages in, it was just plain irritating.

The writing was excellent, and the idea was interesting, just got a little old, even in a small-ish book.
David Logan
Dec 20, 2012 David Logan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not keen on translations because I'm sure they lose something.
In English, this read smoothly nonetheless. It's an Eastern European,
1984-like story by a writer who probably started out without knowing
how to conclude. Suffers from almost total absence of dialogue.
Readers who like nice, wrapped-up conclusions, all questions answered,
will hate it. Readers who like to be made to think will be ... made to think.
Feb 27, 2009 Sai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a unique and interesting premise, though I flipped through bits of it as the story is inherently tedious. One gets a little bored of Budai's obstacles and issues in the hellish unknown, but I did find myself visualizing the story and being engaged especially in the beginning. I wonder how apt the translation is from the Hungarian..

Jan 13, 2014 Aura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una completa pesadilla, angustiante y extraordinaria.
Jillian Donohue
Mar 11, 2015 Jillian Donohue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know what to think of Metropole- was it a fascinating look into the nature of linguistics or a horrific portrayal of the nightmare of city life? What I knew for sure was that the bizarre hellspace that the Hungarian linguist takes a wrong flight to was both bizarrely alien (with no indication of its place in the world, an indecipherable and unfamiliar language, and completely different religions) and hauntingly familiar (the jostling nature of the crowds and the romance that develops fo ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Luca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa-estera
In questo capolavoro atemporale Karinthy illustra la progressiva disgregazione delle nostre certezze e della nostra solidità morale una volta posti di fronte alla totale impossibilità di comunicazione.
Non capire e non riuscire a farsi capire minano alla base non solo il nostro ruolo nella società, ma anche la nostra consapevolezza di individui.
Per quanto sia facile leggerci una metafora dell'oppressione dei regimi comunisti, il respiro del libro va oltre, e permea la stessa natura umana.
Angelo Ricci
Dall’immaginifico giacimento letterario mitteleuropeo Adelphi scopre questo affascinante e misterico labirinto linguistico e fonetico in cui lemmi e fonemi divengono protagonisti dell’eterno e babelico caos dell’umanità.
La prefazione è di Emmanuel Carrère e, of course, va oltre i confini della prefazione classica per traslarsi essa stessa in opera che si allega al resto di questo romanzo che lo stesso prefatore definisce con deferenza “strano”. Visione profetica? Saggio? Pamphlet dai toni sette
Rich Boulton
Jul 31, 2016 Rich Boulton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, 250-or-less, meta
Brilliant book. The opening few days of his struggle to be understood are incredibly claustrophobic, it was like my worst nightmare come true. Eventually you get a sense of, if not what is actually going on, at least what the book is doing and where it is going. By the end it has painted a really haunting picture of the modern world where people shout at each other constantly without listening, every person living nearly entirely in their own solipsistic world. Despite the age of the book it fee ...more
Matthew Lloyd
Feb 24, 2015 Matthew Lloyd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Metropole is a tale of urban alienation: the protagonist, Budai, finds himself in a city having no clear idea how he got there, where he is, the language spoken (nor the script in which it is written), knowing no-one, and with (almost) nothing. It is, however, a tale of white, European, heterosexual, cis-male alienation, so as a twenty-first century reader, I found it difficult to be all that sympathetic to his predicament. After about a third of the novel my own experiences as an alienated and ...more
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GRhookii: Epépé - Commenti e discussione 3 7 Feb 05, 2016 05:41AM  
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Ferenc Karinthy was a novelist, playwright, journalist, editor and translator, as well as a water polo champion. He authored more than a dozen novels. "Epepe" ("Metropole") is the first of Karinthy's novels to be translated into English.

Karinthy worked as a script editor for Nemzeti Színház and Madách Theatre, as well as theatres in Miskolc, Szeged and Debrecen. Between 1957 and 1960, Karinthy tra
More about Ferenc Karinthy...

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