Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians

Overview

'Typical Hungarians don't recognize limits in anything they do. The best kind of Hungarian likes to demonstrate that, whatever happens, he will keep his word, provide you with what he has promised, or finish the job he was trusted with, even if he becomes half crippled in the process.
His aim, however, is not necessarily to come up with a result, but to show in the most dramatic manner that he made the effort.'
Xenophobia is an irrational fear ...
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Overview

'Typical Hungarians don't recognize limits in anything they do. The best kind of Hungarian likes to demonstrate that, whatever happens, he will keep his word, provide you with what he has promised, or finish the job he was trusted with, even if he becomes half crippled in the process.
His aim, however, is not necessarily to come up with a result, but to show in the most dramatic manner that he made the effort.'
Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable.
Xenophobe's Guides - an irreverent look at the beliefs and foibles of nations, almost guaranteed to cure Xenophobia.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Miklós Vámos lives and works in Budapest. A novelist with 19 works of fiction to his credit, his most recent title Mothers Are Not Chosen By Election topped the best-selling charts for months.

Though Vámos is Hungarian for
customs officer
, he always wanted to be a writer. He claims that to get a head start, he began in his mother
s womb where he complained about the dark.

He also writes film scripts. A Fulbright scholarship (1988-90) gave him a marvellous opportunity to study drama at Yale. Unfortunately, while doing so, he missed the real life drama of Hungary
s final push for freedom. As a result, he experiences a touch of paranoia every time he leaves his native land.

Mátyás Sárközi
s
great-grandfather was a newspaper editor and a feared political leader writer. His grandmother was the first woman war correspondent in 1914, and his grandfather (Ferenc Molnár) wrote some internationally successful plays. His father was a lyric poet, his mother ran a literary magazine, so he wanted to be a painter. This is why when he arrived in London at the age of 19, he went to art school.

But fate had it that he, too, should become a journalist. He works as London correspondent for a Budapest daily paper and broadcasts with the BBC. Although living happily in Britain, he has always remained a Hungarian and after 40 years of residence still roams the streets of London feeling a little bit foreign. The irony is that on innumerable extended visits to his native land, he also feels a little bit foreign.
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Read an Excerpt

The Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians


By Vamos, Miklos

Oval Books

Copyright © 1999 Vamos, Miklos
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1902825314

Two plus two equals five
Although they hate to criticise themselves, Hungarians are well aware of their faults, one of which is that they never see eye to eye: if there are four Hungarians in a room, they will belong to five different political parties.

Gloom and doom
With Hungarians, pessimism is a state of mind. They are happy to cultivate this gloomy view: as they put it, 'An optimist is a person who is poorly informed'. Hungarians are realists: in their folk-tales they live happily 'until they die', not happily 'ever after'.

Divorce Hungarian style
Statistics show that Hungarians divorce more than they marry. On an average day, 300 Hungarians marry, and, at the same time, 100 divorce (hopefully not from the 300 who marry). Zsa Zsa Gabor accounts for at least eight. She was once asked whether she was a good housekeeper. 'Yes, dahling,' she said, 'Very good. Every time I divorce I keep the house.'

Talent will out
Hungarian emigrants are very proud of their small native land and of what they themselves have achieved. There was a period in Hollywood when a sign on film studio doors read: 'It's not enough to be Hungarian, you also have to have some talent.'


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians by Vamos, Miklos Copyright © 1999 by Vamos, Miklos. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Nationalism and Identity
Character
Attitudes and Values
Happy Families
Manners and Behaviour
Leisure and Pleasure
Drinking and Eating
Custom and Tradition
Sense of Humour
Culture
Systems
Culture
Systems
Business and Commerce
Government
Language
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