Monday, November 01, 2010


I know, I know, this looks like some hero post part deux, and in some ways it is. The fellow above is one Gyula Krudy, and he is one of the best writers I have EVER read in my life. If you only read one (more) book this year, make it 'Sunflower' by Krudy. It is good enough to make you want want to weep. It is one of his few works that have been translated from the original Hungarian to English, and it worth whatever amount you pay for it. He writes so well that I have considered learning Hungarian just so I could read more of his works. He is quite simply that good, and you won't regret reading him.

If you do regret reading 'Sunflower' then I fear for the state of your soul, providing you have a soul. The book is so good that it doesn't even really have a plot (Krudy wasn't big on plots), and you don't even care. The writing, the characters, and the stories are so good that a lack of an overall plot is hardly noticed at all. Krudy was remarkable, he wrote his first articles for a local newspaper at the age of 16! 16, and published try that on for size. His father wasn't impressed, and attempted to get young Krudy to get some schooling, and learn a trade. That kind of life didn't appeal to him overmuch, so he ran off to Budapest to become a poet.

He didn't become a poet in the strictest sense of the word, but some of his sentences are mind numbingly good. I lack the words to explain to you how good he is, and I can only hope you find out for yourself. It might help to know a few little tidbits about him before you read him, those I can provide because they require very little imagination or writing skill. Feel free to Google him if you wish, because my few tidbits are just that, tidbits, and will not do him justice.

First thing is that he was a drunk, a true drinker's drinker. A man who drank country wine out of a carafe, but a man that few ever saw drunk. He was a nocturnal animal, and vice ridden. His biggest three were wine, woman, and gambling. He loved cards and horses, and with it came to his vices he always chose outsiders. In this way, we are very much alike, I love a good long shot at the track, and I love a good flake in the world of women. I wish I would have inherited 1/10th of his talent instead of 100% of his vices, but I guess the fates were against me. He was the guy who would keep your drunk ass out to dawn, and when you tried to sneak off, he would stop you and tell you to 'come back and talk some more.' And you would because he was Krudy, and you didn't deny him that type of request. He was quite the ladies man, and had a wife and children which he treated shamefully. I doubt he would be overly popular in today's PC world, but this was Budapest in the early 2oth century, and he wasn't overly criticized for his behaviour.

He would tell the numerous ladies in his life that 'he needed to be alone.' That he 'needed solitude' in order to conjure up the wonderful stories that were lying just under the conscious part of his mind. Perhaps the drink, and the solitude gave birth to all those lovely stories he wrote. The admiration I have for his talent is immense, and is made all the greater by the fact that he set himself a quota of 17 pages a DAY! He would write his 17 pages in whatever pub he was drinking on credit, get a cab to the nearest newspaper that would buy them, turn them in to the editor (without corrections) to be published, get his stipend for the pages, and go back to the pub. If only I could do that, just the once.

Times sort of passed him by, but he didn't quit writing, nor did he quit drinking or playing the ponies. He came to a bit of a sad end, one that would be worthy of writing a story about. Which a fellow author (Sandor Marai) did, and published it as a book (which has yet to be translated into English), all he left besides some of the greatest literature in the world, was some shabby clothes, an incomplete pack of cards, some books, and some racing forms that were years out of date. It was a 'good death', it was our kind of death.


Cynnie said...

i read Krudy's Chronicles cause of you ...and i really enjoyed it ..
i'll read this ..i need to test my soul :)

Tideliar said...

I can confirm Grand Inquisitor is sitting across from me in the pub with a copy of the book waxing lyrical about is new Hungarian alter-ego