Péter Esterházy

Péter Esterházy (born 1950), Hungary.

Esterázy, as reviewers seem to feel compelled to say as they begin a piece about him, is descended from one of the most distinguished families in Hungary. If you doubt it, look up his last name in any encyclopedia of music, to see which symphonies and other compositions were commissioned by or dedicated to one or another Esterházy. Of course, an aristocratic pedigree was undesirable in Socialist-era Hungary.

Esterházy spent his early life in a small village where his family had essentially been exiled, but he eventually moved to Budapest, where he studied math and worked as a computer scientist before quitting to become a freelance writer. Besides novels, he writes essays and shortstories and turns up in journals or newspaper interviews in the kinds of contexts where you would expect to find a European intellectual. Among many other things, he addresses issues of Hungarian culture and nationalism, and Central European culture.

This paragraph will contain information about FILL IN THE TITLE once we have chosen one. It's a BIG pain that these wonderful books go out of print so quickly.

I love Esterházy’s writing in spite of everything (whether everything means the way he writes about sex or women, or choosing to give A Little Hungarian Pornography that title?). Most of his books violate all kinds of norms of realistic literature - making this a good moment to discuss post-modernism in literature, if we haven’t done it before now.

Much of Esterházy's fiction has been translated into English by Judith Sollosy.

Questions for reading:

Books by Esterházy:

Works about Esterházy:

Compare this to one of Esterházy’s other books, or to one of Bohumil Hrabal’s - Closely Watched Trains, The Death of Mr. Baltisberger, I Served the King of England, In-House Weddings or Too Loud a Solitude.