To the Hungarian Cultural Centre, Covent Garden this week for the launch of a novel by the Hungarian TV personality, writer and film-maker András Kepes.
The Inflatable Buddha was first published in Hungary under the title Tövispuszta (2011). My friends at the arts and digital book publishing site Armadillo Central commissioned the Hungarian language expert Bernard Adams to translate the novel into English and the result is really quite something. Tövispuszta is already a bestseller in Hungary, where it has sold something like 80,000 copies. I had an advance proof of the translation and sped through it, thinking awards, awards, awards.
|Mátyás Sárközi, András Kepes, Sharif Horthy, Mrs Horthy|
|Sharif Horthy introduces András Kepes|
András was interviewed by Hungarian Holocaust survivor and former BBC World Service correspondent Mátyás Sárközi, and introduced by his friend Sharif Horthy, the grandson of the last Regent of Hungary. András explained that his aim was to somehow cut across the "cookie cutter" mentality that Hungarians cannot help but be a part of when it comes to the telling of the history of their country. If you come from one background you will have grown up with the telling of the history in one way; if you come from another background you will have grown up with the telling of the history in another way. András confirmed that, whilst the aristocratic character, Pál, is a blending of himself with his friend Sharif, amongst others, like most novelists, parts of him were also in many characters. That readers from all different backgrounds are recognising "their" story in the story is testament to the skill of the author and the success of the book.
Extracts were beautifully read by the actor Ken Drury, who has recently completed a long run in the West End play The Woman In Black. Bravo!
|My meet the author moment - photo c. Sylvia Selzer|