David Tarbay On:
The Dog Lover’s Handbook by László Darvasi
“Because I’m curious, I suppose,” replied Laszlo Darvasi, one of the most prolific contemporary writers in Hungary, when asked what drives him to explore nearly all forms of literary creation. “It’s a matter of character. I like traveling in the literary world, I like trying new things, even though I also know where my loyalties lie.”
Darvasi writes columns, (“It’s livelihood,” he explains), novels (“the great journeys, the adventures, the getting lost and the returning home”), drama (“curiosity”), children’s fiction (“love”), but he remained loyal to short stories, which he compares to lightning bolts. “Handbook for Dog Owners” is precisely that type of thunder bolt: unexpected, powerful, clear and illuminating, electrifying. He finds and invents in the mundane the grotesque and the absurd, and serves it with his distinct human touch. The heart-rending misery of his characters evoke a smile, but also breaks the reader’s heart and reminds us of the fragility and the finite condition of existence, and our dependency upon each other.