Chuck LoPresti's Reviews > Love and Other Stories

Love and Other Stories by Tibor Déry
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's review
Jul 28, 12

Read from July 17 to 28, 2012

Nothing less than stellar here. Dery is a master of the short story and an amazing stylist. When you have a literary prize named in your honor that should come as little surprise. It's really a shame that apart from Krasznahorkai, no Hungarian writer has any significant reputation in the US. The quality of these translated stories absolutely ranks with Chekhov and Zoschenko on my shelves. I really appreciate the variety of the stories offered here: he writes of war and oppression with great human understanding but he varies his touch with great skill. His understand of life, love and death is on full display throughout this collection. Like Zoschenko - he's so much more than just a social-political critic - but it seems that's the easiest and laziest way to market him to non-Hungarian readers. If you've only read Niki Story of a Dog you are only getting a fairly limited segment of this man's talent. Not since Lord of Flies have I read a more powerful use of children as an example of the limits of human cruelty and I'm absolutely certain that Krasznahorkai's Satantango was written after the experience of reading The Circus. Since I can't read Hungarian I am dependent on the "task of the translator" in Benjamin's terms to bring Dery's skill to life. Only Kosztolanyi and Marai compare in terms of pure stylistic skill amongst the many Hungarian writers I have greatly benefited from reading over the last two years. I hope over the next few years of my life that more Dery makes it into English - more Kosztolanyi would be nice as well - both rank among the writers I love most.
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