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    Metropole (Paperback) By (author) Ferenc Karinthy, Translated by George Szirtes

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    DescriptionA linguist flying to a conference in Helsinki has landed in a strange city where he can't understand a word anyone says. As one claustrophobic day follows another, he wonders why no one has found him yet, whether his wife has given him up for dead, and how he'll get by in this society that looks so familiar, yet is so strange. In a vision of hell, unlike any previously imagined, Budai must learn to survive in a world where words and meaning are unconnected. This is a suspenseful and haunting Hungarian classic.


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  • Kafka's legacy truly fulfilled and honoured by this brilliant, mesmerising, disturbing novel5

    bobbygw Any number of modern, nightmarish novels are given the epithet of 'Kafkaesque', but most contemporary writers pale in comparison to the truly disturbing, oppressive, claustrophic and dark fiction of Kafka himself.

    Well, in the modern Hungarian, Ferenc Karinthy (himself the son of a famous Hungarian satirist/novelist/journalist) and his novel, Metropole, you find a truly worthy successor to Kafka, in particular his most famous work, The Trial (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature), but also - for its equally claustrophic, trapped sense of nightmare without end, his most famous short story, The Metamorphosis (Dover Thrift).

    The plot is, as with Kafka's work, straightforward; but it's in the novel's machinations, the relentless trial and tribulations of his character - here, Budai, a multi-lingual linguist - comparable to Joseph K.'s in The Trial, that you find yourself as a reader drawn in and ever downwards; conjoined with Budai's viewpoint on his world of suffering, alienation and incomprehension at arriving in a country and city that is massively, suffocatingly overpopulated and whose language he doesn't recognise whatsoever.

    It is an astonishing work of fiction, with a translation that is seamless. The only complaint is that there are numerous errors in the copy-editing, which as all readers know can jar and upset the suspension of disbelief necessary to remain fully immersed in the fiction reading process itself. Highly recommended; I've no doubt Kafka himself would have been envious of this wonderful novel. by bobbygw

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