Author(s): Antal Szerb
When Mihaly finally succeeds in seducing Erzsi away from her first husband, he confidently takes her on honeymoon to Italy. Within days of their arrival, things start to fall apart: Mihaly is swept back to memories of his teenage years, 'loses' his bride at a provincial station and drifts away. Embarking on a chaotic and bizarre journey around Italy, the death-haunted and erotic elements of his past converge, and he, like Erzsi, has to choose his own fate. In this deeply moving and darkly funny masterpiece, Szerb explores questions of spirituality and selfhood that probe the very nature of bourgeois civilization.
Antal Szerb was born in Budapest in 1901. Though of Jewish descent, he was baptised at an early age and remained a lifelong Catholic. He rapidly established himself as a formidable scholar, through studies of Ibsen and Blake and histories of English, Hungarian and world literature. He was a prolific essayist and reviewer, ranging across all the major European languages. Debarred by successive Jewish laws from working in a university, he was subjected to increasing persecution, and finally murdered in a forced labour camp in 1945. Pushkin Press publishes his novels The Pendragon Legend, Oliver VII and his masterpiece Journey by Moonlight, as well as the historical study The Queen's Necklace and Love in a Bottle and Other Stories.