Siege 13

Tamas Dobozy. Milkweed (PGW, dist.), $16 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-57131-097-2
PEN/O. Henry Prize winner Dobozy’s energetic stories, a baker’s dozen, are full of Eastern Europeans (Sándor, Tíbor, Lujza, etc.) involved in events unusual to Western readers that are part of the characters’ everyday lives. A natural storyteller, Dobozy typically launches intriguingly titled tales with a declarative sentence that increases the interest: “The Ghosts of Budapest and Toronto” begins “Mária didn’t die in the siege of Budapest”; likewise, “The Miracles of Saint Marx” starts: “One of the weirder people to surface during the era of Hungarian communism...” When not in Europe, Dobozy’s characters are typically strangers in a strange land. Narrated by a Fulbright Scholar studying at NYU, “The Atlas of B. Görbe” centers on an elderly and revered yet also overindulgent and corpulent Hungarian-born author (the titular Görbe) who maneuvers in Manhattan like a bull in a china shop. “The Homemade Doomsday Machine” charts a little boy’s obsession with the work of émigré nuclear scientist Otto Kovács, who visits him with the machine’s prototype after an exchange of letters. The centerpiece is the novella-length “The Beautician,” an engrossing tale of love and betrayal among members of the Szécsényi Club, a Hungarian intellectual society in Toronto. Colorful and rich in detail and full of life. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 02/01/2013
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