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( 1932 )

» The Vocation (1977)
» Poor Anna Sudár (1989 )
» Fear not (1998 )


1932 born in Budapest, November 24
1956 admitted to ELTE University, Budapest
1961 receives her teacher's diploma in Hungarian Literature and History
1961-76 works as a teacher
1968 first novel is published
1976 begins to work as a freelance writer
1990-1992 elected President of the Hungarian Writer’s Union

Her prizes include:
1970 Attila József Prize, 1974 SZOT Prize, 1980 Pietrzak Prize, 1981, 1990 Prize of the Szépirodalmi Publishing House, 1992 The Cross of the Order of the Hungarian Republic, 1994 Kossuth Prize, 1995 Prize of the MTI-Press for Journalism, 1998 Magyar Örökség Prize, 1999 Prize of the journal, Tiszatáj, 1999 Book of the Year, 1999 Prize of the journal, CET, 2004 Prima Primissima Prize

The Vocation

"This is love, this is passion. Alone in the middle of the wilderness. It could be romantic, but it isn't. It could be scary, but it isn't. Completing a mission, the tranquility of personal duty. An ideal without disappointment, a goal that knows no disgust." The novel of vocation and loneliness. The protagonist is Dr. Flóra Suhajda, archeologist, a divorced woman who lives alone with her teenage son. The centre of her life is her work, her vocation, more than family or love. However, she is still longing for human contact, and her two friends, the playful Vera and Panni, the soap factory worker, try to cheer her up. After a while she meets perfect love: István Aráber, her lover, is an architect who loves his work as much as Flóra loves hers. This love, though, must end. Flóra has to understand that she is unfit for a perfect relationship. Out of sheer pride, she cannot accept István's sense of duty. The novel is an account of a woman's struggle for personal development, as well as an analysis of the relationship of man and woman and a story portraying characters living and working in socialist Hungary.

Poor Anna Sudár

Modelled after the works of the great Transylvanian memoirists (especially Kata Bethlen), Anna Jókai records the life of a middle-aged Hungarian housewife of Transylvania. Her diary shows how she tries to hold her ground among the struggles of the life in Romania of the 1980s, where not only supplying the needs for everyday life was nearly impossible, but also the traditionally good relation between Hungarians and Romanians began to deteriorate because of the political phrases of the era of dictatorship. Anna Sudár’s son is away in Hungary and she is not allowed to visit him; her grandchild is being estranged from her by the family. The novel is in fact a report on the state of affairs in Romania towards the end of Communism.

Fear not

The novel is in line with the writer’s more recent output, which is more and more philosophical, ethical and meditative. There are four main characters in the novel, two women (Mária and Villő) and two men (Márió and Richárd), covering a time span of twenty years from 1977 to 1997, relating the history of their unfulfilled love and the relationships of their family, and showing their struggles with old age. The dramatic texture of the novel is composed of the interior monologues of these four people, giving the impression of blending colours and the single device establishing connections on an occasional, brief and detached narrative, in the form of a few references to historical events or some stage directions, or, sometimes, interpolated stories. The most important element of the novel is the preparation for one’s own death. The mottos of the novel, therefore, are quotations from Christ and Buddha. “Anna Jókai’s novel is one of the most exciting and most human writings in many years.” (László Rónay)

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