Skylark

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Skylark

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dezso Kosztolányi belonged to a remarkable generation of Central European writers. This novel is a masterpiece. From the opening sentences, he is drawing on nuance and subtle detail; comedy and pathos. Every gesture speaks volumes…..for all the humour and the easy comedy this lively study of small life is as profound as a prayer, as subtle as a lament." –The Irish Times

"This short, perfect novel seems to encapsulate all the world’s pain in a soap bubble. Its surface is as smooth as a fable, its setting and characters are unremarkable, its tone is blithe, and its effect is shattering." –Deborah Eisenberg, The New York Review of Books 

“The risks of projects like the Central European Classics is that some of the books will proved to be worthy rather than interesting novels which one reads out of duty rather than pleasure. This is not at all the case with Dezso Kosztolanyi’s Skylark; I cancelled a dinner engagement because it was too gripping to put down.” –The Guardian (London)

“Kosztolanyi’s precise description of his chosen microcosm has produced a gem of a book that is completely convincing in its depiction of characters and the society they move in…The language is invigorating and at times hilarious.” –The Independent (London)

“Beneath this gentile satire, Kosztolanyi is steadily subverting the arrogant certainties of his times, from the vainglory of the Austrian hierarchy and its rural quislings to the loud but empty boasting of the oppressed intelligentsia.” –The Observer (London)

“Examining the unaddressed tensions of the Vajkay family, Skylark...depicts the closed, debilitating atmosphere of provincial life in the dying days of the Austro-Hungarian empire…Richard Acze’s line version of Skylark catches its author’s irony and sharp, atmospheric nuance. This hidden masterpiece is now being presented to a wide audience, an event to be celebrated.” –The Irish Times

Skylark, published in Hungarian in 1924, is the most original, economical and painful novel I have read in a long time.” –The Times (London)

“..a superb, deeply poignant short novel, but also of a gifted translator…I believe that anyone can enjoy, say, Skylark as literature in English, even if they have no special knowledge of, or interest in, Hungary and the lost world of the Habsburg monarchy…Kosztolanyi’s writing is good enough to transcend the cultural difference that does exist.” –Timothy Garton-Ash, The Independent (London)

“Kosztolanyi was a ringleader in the 20th-century flowering of Hungarian literature, a poet who reformed the language, and a fiction writer of world class.” –The Guardian (London)

“Deszo Kosztolanyi simultaneously sustains a line of complex political paradoxes alongside a strikingly convincing human narrative.” –The Herald (Glasgow)

"...[an] alternately hilarious and melancholy classic of Hungarian literature...The author slyly depicts a smalltown life that remains curiously relevant today with his exploration of the tension between the politics of the left and the right, atheism and Christianity, and parents and their children. Though written 80 years ago, this remains a deftly executed, thoughtful meditation on mortality and the passage of time." –Publishers Weekly

“This short, perfect novel seems to encapsulate all the world’s pain in a soap bubble. Its surface is as smooth as a fable, its setting and characters are unremarkable, its tone is blithe, and its effect is shattering.” –Deborah Eisenberg, The New York Review of Books

"Dezso Kosztolányi belonged to a remarkable generation of Central European writers. This novel is a masterpiece. From the opening sentences, he is drawing on nuance and subtle detail; comedy and pathos. Every gesture speaks volumes.....for all the humour and the easy comedy this lively study of small life is as profound as a prayer, as subtle as a lament." –The Irish Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590173398
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 3/2/2010
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 540,215
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 19, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Can't believe I haven't heard of this book before. It was a good story about how parents deal with their disappointment in a less than perfect child and the loneliness of a person who doesn't fit in to normal society

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Growing old in an early 20th century Hungarian Village

    "Skylark" is one of the titles in the New York Review of Books reprint list. It is a comparatively short novel detailing the emotions and activities of a pair of elderly parents while their 40ish, single daughter is on a two-week vacation with relatives. It is poignant and universal, asking questions and describing realities that affect almost all families in various ways. Skylark, the daughter, is absent during almost the entire book, and only returns at the end. It is a book about the human condition and as such contains improbabilities and hopes and dreams and realities. Because it is so human, I also found it enormously rewarding and thought-provoking. It is a serious book with many small treasures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

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    Posted January 16, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2010

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