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Kornel Esti


A great masterpiece never before available in English, Korn?l Esti is the wild final book by a Hungarian genius.
Crazy, funny and gorgeously dark, Korn?l Esti sets into rollicking action a series of adventures about a man and his wicked doppleg?nger, who breathes every forbidden idea of his childhood into his ear, and then reappears decades later.
Part Gogol, part Chekhov, and all brilliance, Kosztol?nyi in his final book serves up his most ...

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Kornel Esti

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A great masterpiece never before available in English, Kornél Esti is the wild final book by a Hungarian genius.
Crazy, funny and gorgeously dark, Kornél Esti sets into rollicking action a series of adventures about a man and his wicked dopplegänger, who breathes every forbidden idea of his childhood into his ear, and then reappears decades later.
Part Gogol, part Chekhov, and all brilliance, Kosztolányi in his final book serves up his most magical, radical, and intoxicating work. Here is a novel which inquires: What if your id (loyally keeping your name) decides to strike out on its own, cuts a disreputable swath through the world, and then sends home to you all its unpaid bills and ruined maidens? And then: What if you and your alter ego decide to write a book together?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A collaboration between an unnamed narrator and his wild prankster of a friend, this collection of vignettes follows the adventures of the sometimes poet Kornél Esti from a Budapest coffee shop to his unlikely interactions with a Bulgarian train guard and other charmers, mostly of the early-20th-century, ink-stained variety. Esti, "a half-baked literary freak," is smart, funny, and exciting, apparently everything the narrator is not—"I paid dearly for our friendship," the narrator says. Kosztolányi (1885–1936) skillfully draws the narrator's admiration and envy of Esti, leaving the reader feeling the same sense of wonder for the ersatz hero that our increasingly invisible storyteller has. One can't help being charmed by the duo, one with "determined eccentricity" and the other with begrudging admiration, and Adams's clean translation, with helpful footnotes, makes this nearly 80-year-old novel feel almost modern and easily entertaining. (Feb.)
The Guardian
“Kosztolányi was a ringleader in the 20th-century flowering of Hungarian literature, a poet who reformed the language, and a fiction writer of world class.”
Chad Harbach
“A tender comedy tinged with the absurdity of life, the thrill of sociability, and the imminence of death, which I guess is exactly the kind of book I like.”
Christopher Byrd - The Daily Beast
“Each of these stories displays a mastery of texture, nuance, and pacing that is absolutely first rate.”
Peter Esterházy
“One of the most important and glittering writers of a Hungarian golden age, Kosztolányi is multicolored and ineffable, like a rainbow. At the end of his life, the virtuoso Kornél Esti appears.”
László Krasznahorkai
“If anyone ever truly wanted to write the history of the Hungarian people, the author would certainly take that Dantean first sentence of Kosztolányi’s Kornél Esti as the work’s epigraph: in a word, the most wondrous first sentence ever written in the Hungarian language.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811218436
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 2/25/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 979,897
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Novelist, poet, and journalist,
Deszö Kosztolányi (1885-1936) is widely regarded as one of the great Hungarian writers.

Bernard Adams won a PEN
Translation Fund Award for his translation of The
Adventures of Kornél Esti.

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