“Keine Kunst” (“No Art”) is the title, but it also contains high art. In his novel, Péter Esterházy approaches the biography and little foibles of his mother – this fascinating and elegant lady with wonderful legs whose Hungarian blood starts to boil whenever she is in the stadium: “Football is her whole life. In my mother’s head, the world is comprised of the four corners of the football pitch.”
After the magnum opus “Harmonia Cælestis” with its broad appeal to all generations (and the “improved edition”), the Peace Prize author focuses his attention on a seemingly minor excerpt of his family history and manages to draw a parallel with the world. In his unique and meandering way, Esterházy, who claims that he “writes with the entire body” narrates the small time story of growing up in Communist Hungary. He tells of the loving, even symbiotic relationship of a son and his mother. On a larger scale, he recounts expulsion, survival under the regime and what truth actually entails. Inadvertently, the game between the goal posts turns into the game of life. Pearls of sentences frequently tumble across half a page – just like the bubbles in the water at Uncle Charlie’s spring: “Here among the silk stockings, which landed with Puská’s and his entourage’s football, the story (one of the stories) began of my mother. There was nothing she treated so passionately as football – neither my father, nor her children, nor God ...” “Keine Kunst” is amusing and highly poetical. From the world and self, Esterházy creates a network of self-reflection by constantly making writing the main theme. The author, Terézia Mora, translated her colleague’s work in a highly readable German translation.