Comments on “Far From Nothing”, a novel by Zoltán Böszörményi, translated from the Hungarian by Paul Sohar, published by Exile Editions, Toronto, Canada
In its birthplace, Hungary, this book had an interesting sales curve. The initial rise soon gave way to a drop for a month or two before it took off again to reach bestseller status. Clearly, the best sales force, the word of mouth from the readers, was at work. In the meantime this first novel garnered some clever and controversial comments from a few erudite critics and yet, it seems to me, (a very thorough reader indeed, by definition, as the translator), one piece of its puzzle is still missing. What’s the puzzle? you may ask. Why, the puzzle of its eventual success, and I don’t just mean sales figures alone but the way a book by a newcomer on the literary scene was obviously able to stimulate its readers to debate the work, taking strong positions for it or against it. And the way many so-called literati still try to evade the whole issue.