'Bodor’s prose, in Peter Sherwood’s lithe translation, is casual and chatty, but also nuanced, sensory and bleakly humorous' - Diána Vonnák in the Times Literary Supplement 24 December 2021.
A gripping and eloquent description of an unnamed totalitarian society in all its irrationality, absurdity, and implacability; provoking both laughter and shuddering in the reader.
Home to nine hot springs, Verhovina used to be rich in natural beauty, yet it has become a wasteland, with only a few dozen inhabitants left. Trains to Verhovina are scarce; the timetable was cancelled. One day, even the birds disappeared from the region!
The reader arrives in Ádám Bodor’s world, the periphery of civilisation, at the break of dawn. Adam, the foster son of Brigadier Anatol Korkodus is waiting at the dilapidated station for a boy who is arriving from a reform school. Soon afterwards, Korkodus is arrested, for unfathomable reasons. Yet this decaying and sinister world is not devoid of a certain joie de vivre: people eat gourmet dishes, point out their interlocutor’s hidden motives with incredibly dark humour and enjoy the region’s stunning natural beauty.
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