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Zoltán András BÁN
( 1954 )

Biography

1954 He was born in Budapest
His mother was the member of the Hungarian State Opera Choir. This fact determined Bán’s later life and interests.
He sang in the children’s choir, and he can play several instruments. He wanted to be a musician.
1981 He graduated from Eötvös Lóránd University at the faculties of Hungarian language and literature and Librarianship.
From 1980 he wrote literary criticism, rewiews and essays about the music.
He translated among others Theodor W. Adorno, Heimito Doderer, Robert Musil and Robert Walser from German.
He is one of the most original voices in the Hungarian literary criticism.
1990-1997: he worked at Beszélő which was the most important forum of the democratic opposition before the change of system, and then the periodical of the liberal intellects.
2001-2008: he was the cultural editor at Magyar Narancs which is a weekly cultural and political alternative and liberal magazin.
He is writing his new novel (Beethoven’s Nephew) at present.

Ladies' Sonata and other Stories
2008

Zoltán András Bán is one of the most resourceful of the critics who are active in Hungary today, a full-blooded man of letters and, in recent years, a creative writer too. Ladies’ Sonata contains the eponymous novella and two shorter prose works. ‘Father Did It’, the short piece that opens the volume, is hard to define: a parody, pamphlet, esquise… Along with allusions to Kafka, the father-figure who is conjured up and parted from in this tale is eerily reminiscent of the narrator of Imre Kertész’s Kaddish for an Unborn Child, as is the brilliant style of the writing and the poetics of the sentence construction. ‘Lieutenant Kotányi’, a long short story, is set in 1956. The narrator serves up in graphic detail, yet with dispassionate irony, this furiously paced story of what proves to be a fateful day and a half in the life of the lieutenant of the title, with side dishes on jealousy, a sneaky concièrge, and defection from the country. The most important of the cast of figures who appear in ‘Ladies’ Sonata’, a short novel constructed along musical lines, is perhaps the Essence of Narration. Through this voice’s constant reflections, metamorphoses and role-playing, the reader is granted entry into a strange, if not bizarre, many-sided love ménage that plays out in Vienna.

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