György Dragomán

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György Dragomán (1973) is a Hungarian writer and translator born in Transylvania. Dragomán is a witty and frank depicter of the links between recent history and the present. Two of his novels have been published in Estonian. Máglya is about the relationship between 13-year-old Emma and her grandmother, who has supernatural powers, under the dark shadows of the Second World War, the Holocaust and communism. Communism has seeped into his best-known work A fehér király, which has been translated into more than 30 languages. Dragomán creates a striking description of the absurd daily life under totalitarianism that is almost comical on the one hand and blood-curdling on the other hand; a militant society during peacetime and its impact on regular people. The story concentrates on a boy named Dzsátá, whose father is taken to a camp and who has to survive with his mother. The most frequently repeated sentence in the book is “I will kill you”, it is hard to make it through the day without a hiding, you can get beaten everywhere and by everyone. Let us imagine a school where the geography teacher is nicknamed Iron Fist and where the teachers literally hit the schoolbooks. It is a world where an ambassador beats up a woman who came to him for help, and fights break out in banana queues and at funerals. In this way, Dragomán describes a society based on a struggle for survival, where no one can truly just be. However, this highlights Dzsátá’s tenacity and his boldness to demand a childhood and a life worth living in general, and also the idea that the worst response to social injustice is apathy. György Dragomán will talk to writer and translator Indrek Koff

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