Writer: Miklós Bánffy (translated by Len Rix)
Publishing House: Pushkin Press
Date of Publication: May 25th 2021
Rating: 5 stars
‘’There was a horror in the wintry silence, a silence more profound than in any previous winter. It was as if life itself had been somehow diminished; as if there were fewer people now alive than in the past.’’
Miklós Bánffy’s life was adventurous and tragic. Persecuted by the Nazis and the Soviets, the two sides of the coin of Tyranny and Death, exiled, almost forgotten. But his offers in European Literature need to be acknowledged. Thank God for Pushkin Press and their tireless effort in restoring writers and their works, communicating them to the modern Reader. Bánffy’s stories are the result of a seamless marriage between the historical and the mystical in settings that range from haunting Transylvania to sultry Italy.
Wolves: A winter’s tale of wolves, snow, human greed and cruelty.
Little Borbalka and the Terrifying Safranics: A kind girl tries to protect a mysterious stranger from getting murdered. But will he reciprocate her honesty and kindness?
The Satan: A beautiful story of a knight called ‘’The Satan’’ due to his countless vices and sins and how he was changed by a princess’s love.
The Emperor’s Secret: An almost cinematic story of the Scourge of God.
The Contaminated Planet: A traveller in Scotland dreams a terrible dream of a world destroyed by greed and vile actions. A strangely prophetic and profound story.
Tale From A Mountain Village: A devilish old man is convinced his wife has cursed him to die. And it’s exactly what he deserves. A dark tale of Folklore, superstitions and marital violence.
‘’Tell me! Which of us did you want to win, Paris or me? Tell me, and tell me frankly: which of us? Paris or me?’’
Helen in Sparta: Ten years after Menelaus’ return from Troy, a feast is held and the king sings of his (imaginary) triumph. But Helen remembers…
The Dying Lion: A priest and a scientist give their last battle before one of them departs for the final journey, witnessed by the scientist’s strange, faithful mistress.
The Miraculous Tale of Gaspar Loki: The narrator traces the steps of a hedonist Hungarian knight in Venice, in the era of the Serene Republic, and his love for a golden-haired statue.
The Tiger: A tiger and a beautiful maiden.
The Stupid Li: An interesting tale about the Chinese Lord of the Underworld and a very stupid man during the time of Kublai Khan.
The Enchanted Night: A young woman experiences the wonders of an enchanted night in an Italian olive grove. A modern Midsummer Night’s Dream.
‘’The air was thick with the perfume of olive blossom, of lilac and jasmine, so intense and so powerful that it seemed to be falling around them like dew, and it was their scent, even more than the uncertain light of the moon, that filled the scene with an unearthly haze.
In silence and with arms intertwined, they advanced into this timeless world, their steps moving in rhythm to the half-heard sone coming from somewhere in the distance…and now from just the other side of the foliage the sound of young women’s voices joined in ritual chant.’’
Many thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.