Author Ulitskaya Wins Readers in Hungary

A few days after the 2009 Budapest International Book Festival, I got on a tram and sat down just to read the Russian author Ludmila Ulitskaya's new novel. A few minutes later, a young person sat next to me and was also buried in a book. After many stops, we both looked up and had to laugh as we were both reading the same book: "Daniel Stein, Translator".

Although all branches of the arts - literature too - need form-breakers, one thing never changes: readers love a storyteller. And nowhere was this more evident than at last year's Budapest International Book Fair, where readers lined up for hours to have their books signed by Ulitskaya, who was the fair's guest of honour.

"In her new novel, 'Daniel Stein', Ludmila Ulitskaya as a mature master and in the best vein of Russian literary tradition finally feels herself ready to write a novel that poses an eternal moral question: what is good, where is the real virtue and comes to conclusion that the only touchstone of the what is good is acting good, while the religious beliefs and internal contradictions of each of us should be considered secondary to this main moral principle. The novel is at the same time a skilfully crafted literary roman epistolaire, a philosophical tale, a profound historical survey and an entertaining peace of fiction," Ulitskaya's literary agent says of "Daniel Stein".

Ulitskaya convinces us again of her storytelling prowess in a Hungarian translation of "Stories About Animals and Humans", a book of tales, published by Magvető.

Author: Erzsébet Eszéki / Photo: MTI

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