S. Back - agentur für ungarische literatur - agency for hungarian literature

HU 1987

Judit Fenákel: Magántörténet (working title: The Temptation),

novel, 177 pages (Hungary 1987)

The provincial town Várkony is preparing for a celebration. The freshly renovated birthplace of the famed American-born painter György Harmath is about to be dedicated.
For the celebration, the artist himself has journeyed to Várkony.
The theater director Mihaly Hornok and his wife, Bori, the stage designer, are among the guests. Bori has designed the house’s interior decoration and has also been assigned the job of taking care of the artist.
Hornok is angry because the renovation of the theater has again been put on the back burner, and the ensemble must again move out of the theater, which is in danger of collapse. Opera will clearly have to go, and the performance of plays is also endangered. Only operetta continues to find favor, and of course the Harmath gallery will continue to be supported; there one can appear on television with the world-famous artist.
And now jealousy is gnawing at Hornok. During an argument, a piece of paper falls out of Bori’s purse. On it, Harmath has sketched the design of an apartment and scribbled, “for Bori, in memory of our common secret.” The secret of which Hornok is ignorant is that in place of the insignificant house belonging to the Harmath family, the museum director, a fanatical local patiot, has renovated a beautiful old villa and declared it the birthplace of György Harmath. So as not to spoil the celebration, Harmath and Bori have decided to keep this a secret. But now Hornok suspects his wife of an illicit relationship with the older artist. He is aware that now not only is his position as director and actor at risk, he could even lose his wife.
Harmath is not an ideal partner in the organized spree of eating and drinking with the local worthies. The gypsy music is also not to his liking. Thus he feels even more drawn to the lovely, shy stage designer. Nor can Bori resist the attraction of the older citizen of the world; ah, yes, a bit of American life wouldn’t be at all bad.
Hornok observes the obviously developing relationship. He is more and more convinced that as an unsuccessful provincial actor, he has no chance with the wealthy and famous artist.
Returning from the dacha where important guests are invited as a “closed society,” Bori is overcome by disillusionment. She realizes that while she would have a significantly easier life at the artist’s side, her place is with the fool Hornok: His arduous life is also hers…

The novel was turned into a film in Hungary in 1987.

Kritiken / Reviews:

reviews still to come

More works of this writer:

Lili utazásai (working title: "Lili's Travels")
Az igazi nagy nö (working title: "A Woman of the World")
Az elhallgatás (working title: "The Silence")
Levélária (Working Title "They loved the opera")
A kékezüst hölgy (working title: „Olga's three lives“)
A fénykép hatoldala (working title: "Backside of the Picture")

<-- Judit Fenákel