I’ve been considering for a while to occasionally post about a Hungarian book, since I’ve noticed that we’re not very popular among the international audience. I find it extremely difficult, because there’s very few Hungarian books I know of that are translated to English.
As I already mentioned in one of my posts before, my favorite Hungarian authoress, for example, has never been translated. So unfortunately, I can’t do very much fangirling over her books on an English-language blog.
I recently read a book by Jenő Rejtő, though, and it occured to me that many of his books were translated, he even had an English nome-de-plume: P. Howard. So I decided to write about his books first.
About the Author
Jenő Rejtő was a Hungarian journalist, pulp fiction writer and playwright, and lived in the first half of the 20th century (1905-1943). He wrote in a wide range of genres (journals, poems, pulp fiction, adventure..), and his works has been very popular in Hungary for several decades now. In spite of his novels being more of an entertainment for the people, literary critics has praised his work as well, saying his unique sense of humor and his hidden critic of society raised it to the professional level. After 1939 he couldn’t write under his own name (hence the nome-de-plume) because of his Jewish origins, and sadly he later, in 1943, died of typhus while doing his labour service in the Soviet Union. His books were republished in the ’60s, and soon became widely read – and the are ever since.
The 14 Carat Roadster
I liked this book very much, but it’s kind of hard to gather together what it is about. It’s a lunatic, surreal run, full of funny and bizarre scenes and conversations. It’s about the adventures of a young sailor, kind of a con artist who wins the Nobel Prize (ehm..while gambling..) and then gets into crazy situations while spending the money… And then he falls for a girl, and things go even crazier from then on.
This is a very swiftly readable book, and though the story makes basically no sense (in the meaning it would probably never happen in real life), it’s really funny and you come to care about what would happen. Laughing out loud is a possibility!
I’m not sure this is the one best book I should have chosen to recommend, if I’m about to write about one of his, since I’ve seen better opinions on some others… But hey, this is the one I’ve just read, and I liked this one pretty much. I recommend it, but I recommend anything written by him as well, there’s plenty to choose from when you’re deciding which one is the most suitable for your liking!
Did you know about Rejtő? Have you ever read any of his books?
I hope you liked this post about him and his work, and I’d be so happy if some of you would read something by him after seeing my few lines above. Please, let me know, if you do/did! 😉 I’m keen to hear about your experiences!
2 thoughts on “Hungarian Book Recommendation: ‘The 14 Carat Roadster’ by Jenő Rejtő/P. Howard”
I haven’t heard of this author but as someone who loves international lit, I am so happy you posted about him! I haven’t read any Hungarian lit, so this was interesting. Keep ’em coming!
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I’m so glad you like it! ☺️ I plan to make more posts like this, the only problem is that there isn’t a lot of our literature that is translated to English… And those are mostly classics, too. But I’m on it, I’m determined to find Hungarian books of all genres that are translated and thus it makes sense to share them with you! 🙂
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