Edina Szvoren was born in 1974 in Budapest. An alumni of Béla Bartók Music High School, she currently teaches solfeggio and music theory there. She holds a degree as chorus-master from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. She has had work published regularly since 2005, including two works of prose. Her work has been recognized by the following awards: the Sándor Bródy prize for the best first prose book of the year in 2011, the Artisjus Prize and the Attila József Prize.
Nincs, és ne is legyen (There Is None, Nor Let There Be)
Edina Szvoren's stories contain a lot of dry humour, yet at the same time they sizzle, as she reveals the drama in the minutiae of human relationships. When describing Szvoren’s literary world, reviewers have brought up the names of two radically different predecessors: the analytical prose of Péter Nádas and the graceful giant of grotesque, Péter Hajnóczy. The stories of Nincs, és ne is legyen will convince the reader that Szvoren is a mature author with a unique storytelling voice. The family, which is both the centre stage and model of our lives, stands firmly in the middle of the stories, regardless of whether we are struggling on that stage or are just on the outside looking in.
Good morning. Why should precisely seven days belong together, I think to myself. I do not like the way the names of the days are repeated every week. Time sometimes comes to a standstill and then there is a little interval. Not only do I not know what will come next, I don’t even know if there will be anything at all. I don’t think I’ll be a grown-up some day. One thing is for sure: I won’t be able to have any children. No one is going to want me to undress and have me look at his naked body. My transgressions cannot be confessed. If time drops out, there is no visible sign of it. At least my classmates do not notice it, though the letter handed on under the desks has stopped with me. Miss Emmy is smiling at me from under her grey polka dot headscarf, and even she does not notice that I am nowhere. All she sees is the letter. She takes it but does not read it the way other teachers do. Doesn’t even open it. Miss Emmy has widely separated eyes, a broad forehead, and round nose. Miss Emmy has it wrong: she thinks I am lovable; I have managed to fool her, and now I dream she is going to be disappointed. I have started a diary. Mother bought it for me as a name-day gift: I recorded that I am going to die. Mind you, I don’t even think that I was born. I am not yet fond of anyone so much as Miss Emmy – I’ll record that, too, straight off on the first page, in smaller letters. I am pleased that the pages of the diary are yellow, stiff, and rustle, like blueprints, documents, or the Gothic characters of the German letters kept in the drawers of Daddy’s desk. I would not be too pleased if the notebook had a shop smell about it. I don’t like new things. Good morning. What does it mean that the sun is shining? I can see its rays from my room. I have been accorded the grace of being able to see the sun even when I am lying in bed. Contrast that with people like the Majors, for example, who have moved into our garret flat. However they place their heads, all that can be seen from the attic is the slate roof and the leaky eaves. That was what was granted to them. All the same, it is obvious that we got up, not the sun.
I shall endeavour to live in a manner that befits a diary. I make Daddy’s bed, and for a forint I wash his socks. I don’t blag him, on account of which I got more the last time. It’s not that I’m badmouthing the Majors, but they really are lazy and pong a bit. The diary is green and hard-backed.