Kornél Esti by Dezső Kosztolányi

 

Description: Crazy, funny and gorgeously dark, Kornél Esti sets into rollicking action a series of adventures about a man and his wicked dopplegänger, who breathes every forbidden idea of his childhood into his ear, and then reappears decades later.

Part Gogol, part Chekhov, and all brilliance, Kosztolányi in his final book serves up his most magical, radical, and intoxicating work. Here is a novel which inquires: What if your id (loyally keeping your name) decides to strike out on its own, cuts a disreputable swath through the world, and then sends home to you all its unpaid bills and ruined maidens? And then: What if you and your alter ego decide to write a book together?

Opening: I: In which the writer introduces and unveils Kornél Esti, the sole hero of this book. I HAD PASSED THE MIDPOINT OF MY LIFE, WHEN ONE WINDY day in spring, I remembered Kornél Esti. I decided to call on him and revive our former friendship.

Many times my eyes have slid over ‘Fiume’ where it raised a ? in my necktop computer: Kornél Esti will henceforth be remembered as the book where I veered off into finding out the goods:

was an independent free state which existed between 1920 and 1924. Its territory of 28 km2 (11 sq mi) comprised the city of Fiume (now in Croatia and, since the end of World War II, known as Rijeka) and rural areas to its north, with a corridor to its west connecting it to Italy. (wiki sourced)

Picture finding a ‘friend’ during those traumatic first days at school, and then years later, you decide to sit down and write a book with that friend, well that is, in a nutshell, what this book is about. It is vital to mention that this edition is in tiny print using silver grey ink – absolutely dreadful on the eyes.

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