József Holdosi’s large-scale book is a three-generation family novel first published in 1978.
The references to time and place reflect the social reality and social milieu of the various eras depicted. The social-economic status, ancestry and ethnic identity of the characters are all significant, while the value preferences are defined by the complex sociological status of the characters. The text bears comparison with other works of prose fiction with a social commitment and betrays links to the folklorist, realist and anecdotal literary traditions.
The narrative is realist but also full of metaphors and mystical figures of speech, evoking elements of the style of magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez. The narrator keeps the story under his control, thanks not least to the highly autobiographical elements woven into the text. Thus, the narrator’s identity is not totally independent of that of the first-person author-narrator.
See also the reading of the novel’s first page by the author in Hungarian (provided together with the corresponding sample text in German), and the reading of Chapter 36 in German from the German edition of 1984.
Source of text sample
Holdosi, József. 1978. Kányák. Budapest: Szépirodalmi, p. 5; 207-212.