The year 1993. Janos Dragomán, a wandering scholar, a world-famous and world-weary Hungarian writer, returns to his native town to visit three old friends. They are Aba Kuno, the almost saintly, highly respected rector of the university; Antal Tombor, the charismatic popular showman-mayor; and Kobra, a stable family man who is also a ubiquitous media pundit dispensing "common sense." The three have wives, all eager to be seduced by Dragom‡n, whose reputation precedes him. Through a series of flashbacks, covering his intellectually and sexually precocious schooldays, his memories of the life of Jews in 1944, and the 1956 Revolution (brilliantly rendered), we learn that Dragomán inadvertently caused the massacre of six young colleagues. Through the turbulent history of a Central European country, Konrád explores familiar themes and delivers a universal, appropriately ambiguous, message.
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Published May 15, 2000
Literature & Fiction.