|Skylark (1924) [Novel]|
by Dezső Kosztolányi
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(From the publisher):
An acknowledged masterpiece of twentieth-century Hungarian fiction, Dezső Kosztolányi's Skylark
is a classic portrait of provincial life in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the turn of the century. Set in the autumn of 1899, it focuses on one extraordinary week in the otherwise uneventful lives of an elderly Hungarian couple.
Their ugly spinster daughter - nicknamed Skylark - has left them for an unprecedented holiday with relatives in the country. At first the couple, whose entire existence revolves around their daughter, are devastated by her absence. Slowly, however, they rediscover the delights and diversions of small-town society life. Accustomed to a dull, reclusive existence with Skylark, of whom they are secretly ashamed, their awakening is masterfully described against the vivid background of the bustling fin-de-sičcle town and its memorable characters. Finally they are forced to confront the disturbing truth: their daughter is a burden and has deprived them of all pleasure of life. Their outward expression of affection conceals a smouldering resentment. When Skylark's train home is delayed, her father even hopes for the worst.
In this beautifully written tale, Kosztolányi turns family sentiment on its head with an irony that is as telling now as it was nearly seventy years ago.
Original title: Pacsirta
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics