I recently asked a commenter on a Guardian thread for some recommendations for Central European fiction, which she (I believe, though I could be wrong) kindly provided in the comments to my second Yoshimura review. I thought the comments worth pulling out into their own post, for my own ease of reference and in case anyone else was interested.
Here’s the recommendation:
sorry to switch to your blog from the Guardian post, but I did not want to take the conversation into another (from my point of view: selfish) direction.
You’ve asked about some recommendations on Central-European lit; I have mentioned Péter Nádas there – he is very postmodern and pretty demanding (but very rewarding). However, his first translated work, The End of a Family Story, is quite accessible. In the more traditional line (following your Kosztolányi and Szerb line) Attila Bartis is a good start; his novel, Tranquility, won the best translated book (in the US) award a couple of years ago. Then there is Embers by Sándor Márai – I am not a big fan of his, but have to admit he is an excellent writer (died in the 80s but he did not write anything for decades (!) before his death). The Book of Fathers by Miklós Vámos is an excellent novel on the near-past of Hungary. And of course, Fateless by Imre Kertész, who won the Nobel prize for Lit for this Holocaust work of his.
And there are others as well from the region (I stayed with the Hungarians this time), but I do not want to provoke your patience.
The only one of those I know is Embers, so I’m delighted to have this list. Kinga, in case you see this please do provoke my patience, I’d be delighted to hear more and from neighbouring countries.