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Skylark Paperback – March 1, 1996
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"The most original, economical and painful novel I have read in a long time."--Victoria Glendinning, The Times (London)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There is originality in the conception and plot of the novel, wonderful descriptive passages, and, even rarer, an unremitting honesty in the author's treatment of his characters. We are not allowed to look down from a distant perch at these small-town, constrained people with their modest and circumscribed lives, nor, as they become close and vivid to us, are they elevated to heroic or even special status. Kosztolanyi avoids the formulae of tragedy, pathos, and (despite the chapter headings and humor) farce, nor is he content to serve up social science, fraught with self-justifying psychological and sociological descriptions. We are presented with an account that invokes all those genres, but finally is a synthesis, is nuanced and fully, compassionately human.
I would leave it to Ms Eisenberg to provide more detail than that, but having great esteem for her own short stories, I myself didn't require it. Every line of this slender volume counts, and to describe it overmuch seems almost beside the point.
This edition has a nice 10 page introduction by Péter Esterházy, which gives interesting information about the author as well as some background information about Hungarian literature. The cover and binding are, in my opinion, quite handsome also.
The family's inveterate routine is interrupted when Skylark goes to stay with relatives on the plains for a week. Because Skylark had done all the cooking, Father and Mother have to eat out, at the King of Hungary restaurant. There they meet old acquaintances and they are drawn out of their shells into the provincial social life of Sárszeg, including a night at the theater and, for Father, eating and drinking with the Panthers, the local club of bon vivants. Father and Mother are rejuvenated, at least temporarily. But then it is time for Skylark to return. Was she, too, re-invigorated over that week? Does she have any new prospects for marriage? Or do things return to the way they were?
From that outline SKYLARK might sound like pretty mundane fare. But Dezso Kosztolányi, one of the leading Hungarian writers of his time, makes of it a very engaging light novel, alternately funny and poignant. The writing is brisk, deft, and assured.
On one level SKYLARK is a superb portrayal of the bourgeoisie of provincial Kakania, a keen yet gentle satire of their smug but gormless existence.Read more ›
And, how do Mother and Father negotiate the week without the `apple of their eye'. Interestingly, life is lively for the two as " the Vajkays attend the Sarszeg performance of The Geisha", "the couple talk to a fledgling poet." Of course, Father reconnects to Panthers' Table which was formed ...."with not unworthy aim of popularizing consumption of alcohol and promoting gentlemanly friendship. " At home, Mother plays the piano which was shut a long long time ago.
Mother and Father become a part of the liveliness the small burg can afford not as a rebellion against their daughter. For Skylark, their daughter is caring, devoted though domineering . Nor are they seeking escape in her absence from the seclusion enjoined on them and ugly looking Skylark. They are drawn into this lively world due to circumstances beyond their control. They hesitate to accept that they relish some of the things they did. Somewhere also they feel a sense of guilt. This tension brings them to express the hidden feelings towards the daughter. The author beautifully explains the Chapter for this event "in which, after several years in the making, the great day of reckoning finally arrives, and our heroes receive from life the solace and just deserts that come to each and every one of us."
What happens when Skylark returns? Do things come back to normal? What has Skylark gone through?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel is said to be the story of Akos Vajkay and his wife Antonia during a week spent without their daughter Skylark, who is visiting family in the country. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lesley Jenkins
The novel opens with a family preparing for their daughter going away to stay with relatives. It's only for a week, but as the train departs, Mother and Father 'could already feel... Read morePublished 3 months ago by sally tarbox
This small, beautiful novel is a pleasure to read, filled with profound understandings of the human condition and spirit, and descriptions that bring the characters, the town, and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by jane
It's a little unheralded masterpiece on the level of Joyce's "The Dead." It starts quite slowly, the characters aren't exalted, what happens in the book is very subtle, and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Cochise
I seem to have gotten something a little different from "Skylark" than many readers. I disagree with the seeming readers' consensus that "Mother and Father" have... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Diana
This book is about the eponymous character, Skylark, mostly insofar as it describes her absence. Her physical ugliness is the burden under which she and her parents labor, and it... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Moisio
Wonderfully evocative of the era and the closing days of the empirePublished 12 months ago by richard p benner