selected interviews

with Owen Good on György Dragomán's The Bone Fire

"Dragomán’s depiction of the matrilinear narrative passing through the women of the family is, for me, one of the book’s triumphs."

with Chamini Kulathunga in the Los Angeles Review of Books

"The scene is indelibly engraved in my heart and mind. The translation camp was taking place at a small guest house near Gödöllő, and every evening, different writers came to read from their work. We were sitting around these white plastic tables next to the pool and there were Chinese lanterns strung up in the trees. That was the first time I heard Szilárd reading his work."

in The Paris Review

"I feel extremely close to Hungarian as a language. I love the sound of it, I love how it works grammatically, I love the vocabulary, the astonishing mishmash of words from so many different languages, I love what writers can do with it. Hungarian is an agglutinative language with vowel harmony—it has seemingly endless suffixes and amazing possibilities for compound words, and it has absolutely flexible word order, depending on what you want to emphasize in the sentence."

with Veronica Esposito in World Literature Today

"But Krasznahorkai also pushes boundaries in other ways: he tells us that someone from the periphery of Europe can describe the current global condition, one of displacement and extreme marginalization for those not in its center. And yet the strange thing is how the conditions of the periphery—disruption, marginalization, upheaval—are coming to adhere to the center as well. I once asked Krasznahorkai how he was able to predict this, and he said, “My skin is too sensitive.”

with Interlocutor magazine

"My sense is that in The Dispossessed, Borbély wanted to give an almost ethnographic portrait of his childhood growing up in a tiny, deeply impoverished village in north-eastern Hungary. (In one interview, he even mentioned that ethnographers came to collect information about the dialect of Hungarian that people spoke there). It needs to be stressed that the social gap between metropolitan intellectual circles and the villages of Hungary’s cultural and economic periphery was enormous in Borbély’s childhood, and remains so today. One of the more challenging aspects of translating that book was making sure I got all the ethnographic details right — which few people from outside this environment would even know."

[ ottilie mulzet ]with Veronica Esposito on Animalinside by László Krasznahorkai

"In AnimalInside, Krasznahorkai really carries this ambiguity to the ultimate macro-level, as the reader can never really discern what the approaching 'disaster' is, and yet the text is imbued with a sense of menace. I think this is one of the most brilliant features of the text, the highly amorphous quality of this apocalypse."

"Számomra a fordítás nem fordítás": with Gabriella Nagy on litera.hu

"Arra gondolok, hogy minden országnak, ahol létezett már valamiféle totális uralom, olyan emberekre, amilyen Borbély Szilárd volt, sürgető szüksége van és lesz is mindig. Olyan emberekre, akik képesek, hajlandóak szembesíteni a nemzet múltjával, hazugságaival, bűneivel... Ilyen embereket mindenhol - akármely társadalomban - nehéz találni. Szilárd műveiben összekapcsolódott két látásmód, egy mélységesen elgondolkoztató teleologikus tudás, amely e világ profán dolgai által fejezte ki magát. Nem lehet megkülönböztetni, szétválasztani ezeket a műveiben, mint ahogy nem lehet a keresztény és a zsidó hagyományt sem. Szerintem ez a műveiben a legradikálisabb elem, ezért szerettem és szeretem fordítani annyira, mert ezen a majdnem elképzelhetetlen, mély fájdalmon túl mindig ott van bennük valamifajta sugalmazás, mint írja, egy alig hallható fohász, hogy az elviselhetetlen fájdalmon túl van valami, amit nem lehet transzcendensnek nevezni, mégis ott van a fájdalmon túl. Szilárd meghallotta ennek az országnak a hangjait, az elnémítottak hangját, azt, amit nem lehetett hallani. Szinte médiumként adta oda magát e hangoknak, hogy mi is halljuk, hallgassuk, amit mondani akarnak. Amikor azt mondom, hogy műveiben szembesíti a saját nemzetét azzal, amivel az nem akar szembesülni, hozzátenném, nem tudott egyebet mondani, mint a legmélyebb igazságot arról, amit maga körül látott. Ami szerintem az utolsó években egyre fájdalmasabb látvány volt a számára."

With the finalists of the 2019 National Book Award in Translated Literature on LithubInterview by Dóra Szekeres with other writers and translators in Könvyes Magazin (in Hungarian)