Budapest Baroque: Readers opinion

These first comments (mostly shortened) of this novel published 20th of March of 2013 just give a sample of the many-many opinions that an unknown author’s almost 600-page first novel generated in the Hungarian audience.

It is remarkable how early the opinions appeared and how diverse the points which they represent are: some highlight the eroticism of the book; some focus on the evocation of the era; some others point out the extraordinary style and richness of its language; than again some others the meta-literature and intertextual aspects; most of them underlines its humor, the irony and the parodies of various styles.


It was like I read it in 3D…

Gábor Eszterle, Facebook, 23 March, 2013


It is a real pleasure to read this book rich in brains, bodies and emotions. Parties gently hold the texture together; the erotic scenes – touching the boundaries but not breaking them – all exciting and tasty!

Krisztina Bárczi, Facebook, 24 March, 2013


I cannot put it down, excellent book! A true experience!

  1. Éva Maróti, e-mail, 26 March, 2013


It’s like a volcano – more and more exciting parts are rushing out! It throws you from heaven to hell, it’s thick, intense, and honest and the language is truly thrilling. I am scared to watch the bookmark moving forward, I postpone the end, I keep putting it down, no, no, I will continue tomorrow, I don’t want it to end.

Valéria Révészi, e-mail, 28 March, 2013


It is unspeakable how self-satisfied I am when I discover a well hidden allusion to Borges or when I figure out that the baroque style could be partly the effect of the South-American conception of “novela total”. Ok, that’s just talking gibberish, I do really love it. The seeming lightness feels good.

Flóra Vajda, e-mail, 31 March, 2013


I loved it, it is simply dead good!! 🙂 To be honest I had no idea the text would be so damn right when I read the pieces on Facebook though I felt back then it would be real good… It hurts but because of my age I have very little experience of the era in question (my parents were in their thirties-forties at that time) but fortunately this novel is a lot more than that, it rather „just” depicts Hungary in the eighties it’s not an explanation or evidence of it.

Júlia Takáts, Facebook, 3 April, 2013


Yesterday on the bus, I was just reading the letters of the protagonist being left behind in Budapest and his best friend who went to the US, and I just started to laugh so loud that I thought the bus would be stopped.

Zsuzsa Tátrai, e-mail, 5 April, 2013


I was crying over the part when doctor Kaufmann was deported. I have read so many stories like this but this was different. When the doctor says he doesn’t trust grace and friendship: „In these cases, it is advised not to prove such good old fashioned virtues”, I cried.

Zsuzs Hajmási, phone call, 6 April, 2013


I was laughing like hell when reading. And my whole youth comes back. I haven’t had such a good time when reading for a long while. Thanks.

Katalin Lévai, Facebook, 8 April, 2013


I was laughing out loudly like a horse yesterday evening in bed. Fortunately, nobody heard it.

Rita Matók, e-mail, 9 April, 2013


I only started it recently, I read slowly but I died laughing during the first 100 pages, your metaphors are outrageous, the grandma is cute and so familiar, and you can say so many terrible things about women in such a lovable way that is really moving. Your self-knowledge, your self-irony are amazing, you are so bravely honest! Thank you for the experience so far, and I cannot wait to go to bed and read the Baroque of Budapest, so I can chew on it as well!

Dr. Anna Nagy, Facebook, 11 April, 2013


I am already reading the family conflicts and Gergő [the protagonist’s suicidal friend]. That’s real tough… So are the family conflicts… It is not a novel… It’s something else… I don’t like the jokes, though they are good, I love the sex, and the characters…

Gabriella Szabó, e-mail, 12 April, 2013


There are more and more good parts in it – Gábor [the protagonist’s best friend] leaves, his parents’ farewell – ridiculous and it made me cry at the same time… The cemetery scene is freaking great, I hysterically laughed on that, and the Grandma is adorable… I am still reading it, the story of the suicide friend caught me, it was just right.

Nóra Ungár, Facebook, 12 April, 2013


It’s like watching a movie.

Miklós, Facebook, 13 April, 2013


I am trying to read as slow as I can, for example only ten, well then maximum twenty pages are allowed (after I realized I went through 180 pages in the first day), though re-reading counts – it is still disturbingly running short…

Noémi Saly, Facebook, 15 April, 2013


I was perfectly entertained; it is a real time travel. It is full of many things, richness, and loads of thoughts, witty observation and fun!

Judit Kiss, e-mail, 22 April, 2013


I finished the book. It was fascinating. The epilog was superb. Thank you for writing and letting me read it… The last sentence of the epilog is incredible.

Éva Orbán, Facebook, 26 April, 2013


Of course the character of Évi [the heroine] is irritable for many: every women would want to enslave their beloved ones or maybe everyone, and they also want to know the secret how to. But there is no secret, this is not the question of beauty, cleverness, wonderful body: if someone loves the other like that she could be anything – it doesn’t matter. On the top of that, her ignorance is tempting: seemingly she doesn’t want anything but in the end – even in such a damned era – she found herself, she is somehow lucky… Even though she was abused and she is frozen, if one is loved, nothing matters…

Margit Gecsei, Facebook, 28 April, 2013


I spent my first night with a truly happy, giggling laugh: you could make Márquez’s advice come true: only tiredness made me put down your book.

Klára, Facebook, 28 April, 2013


Thank you for making me laugh! Laughing can save lives! Please, when you write a new book, use your humor, I go insane of darkness!

Barbara Faragó, Facebook, 30 April, 2013


Check the time, you see how late is it? I thought I would be reading you slowly, and then I would sum up my opinion. But I cannot, fuck you! You stir me up so much… Let’s leave it for sober times, later how you write about historical things – I just stopped in 1956 – I am not surprised women want to be your Gabi Kövesdi [one of the lovers of the protagonist];-DDD.

This is a symphony that totally absorbs the reader. Anyone would want to be his muse! Though that description was inherent I was staggered by what you wrote about the week in Leányfalu: ” […] we were mad happy, and I did know it back then what it was but this state of happiness smuggled a certain unhappiness into that idyll”. So, someone else feels something likes this, even a male.

Judit Szász, e-mail, 2 May, 2013


It isn’t only about getting tuned in. Dés has written something of me.

Fruzsina Székely, Facebook, 2 May, 2013


Catharsis after catharsis. My good friend Andrea from Rome wrote that nobody outlines the era in a witty and solid way like you do in your motto. And you can wrap it out like it hurts.

Flóra Weiner, e-mail, 4 May, 2013


I really enjoyed every piece of your book. So it is an excellent picture of the period, a critic on the liberal artistic scene, a sexual education and we love your grandma!!! The whole book is so extremely familiar! I really-really liked your metaphors, your wordplays, the measured use of rough language; I admire your grand lexical knowledge, and the way you show off with your educated mind. End emotions are do come out of the whole.

  1. Anikó Varga, Facebook, 4 May, 2013


I haven’t read a book with such pleasure for a long while. And that is not my fault!

László Tóth, Facebook, 4 May, 2013


Thank you for writing this book… about my youth, and all the things that do not exist anymore. Not the fuckings but talking about all the things which EXIST and those that are NONEXISTENT. There is no place to talk, and no one to talk to anymore…

Ilona, Facebook, 6 May, 2013


Impossible to put down!

Mária Rigó, Facebook. 11 May, 2013


I praise Lord for letting me find a true pearl. We all thank you!

Éva Komjáthy, Facebook, 11 May, 2013


I adore your style, your humor and I am not putting it down until I must.

Ildikó Móger, e-mail, 13 May, 2013


If this book will go on movie screen, it would need a Menzel, don’t let some bastard screw it up! I was thinking of whom to compare Dés to but I couldn’t find a voice. I am not rolling laughing on the floor but giggling from time to time with the joy of recognition: that’s exactly like that, he knows it! How come he knows all of it!!!???

Janka, Facebook, 13 May, 2013


As I am reading it: this is my book. I love it… Sometimes it’s like I am in it, like my thoughts would appear on paper… I do love Mihály Dés!

Judit Bobkó, Facebook, 16 May, 2013


Brilliant book, impossible to put down, though it is 600 pages, I read it in four days.

Mrs. Gramosztói Lászlóné, Facebook, 16 May, 2013


I think this book also has a therapeutic effect. I think there is a great number of frigid, prude women out there who secretly really enjoyed reading it, and that is extremely important. It should be prescribed. I don’t know whether I have such other reading experiences. Maybe when reading Márquez.

Panna Németh, e-mail, 17 May, 2013


Finally someone knows the richness of our language and dares to use it. Ironically, the author wasn’t even living in Hungary. 🙂

Zsuzsa Besenyei, Facebook, 19 May, 2013


I adore it! I laughed and cried at the same time when the protagonist made a list of what he wanted and what he didn’t from the heroine.

Erika Fodor, Facebook, 19 May, 2013


My story with book qualifies as predestination. It is a book you have to meet and it happens. When I found it I didn’t hesitate buying it. I immediately started to read it on a Dortmund-Budapest train trip when a young man asked how it was. He explained he just got it as a present. I told him just after reading the first 30-40 pages: that it is a really entertaining and good book, and then we will see the position it will take in the Hungarian literature (that means that I thought it will have a position in Hungarian literature). It was only after 1-2 weeks after publication. I started reading after returning home. I was really captured by the book in the beginning I couldn’t put it down. And later – according to the intention of the author – I started to think. I found real treasures in it. And there are many-many more that I haven’t seen or discovered, so I will read it again.

Judit Majoros, Facebook, 20 May, 2013


The Paris subway has a strict etiquette: you have to have a sad face when entering at least but it’s better to wear a hostile or even an aggressive mask. But since I am reading Budapest baroque on the subway there is an adorable half-smile on my face that bursts out in laughing from time to time. This phenomenon is unacceptable on the Paris subway.

Csaba Benedek, e-mail, 22 May, 2013


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